UMass Memorial - HealthAlliance Hospital Expansion Approved
Sunday, February 12, 2017
“We believe that by combining under one license, UMass Memorial - HealthAlliance Hospital and UMass Memorial - Clinton Hospital can achieve a synergistic effect in medical care delivery that will benefit the communities involved. It will allow both facilities to draw on their tremendous combined resources to offer patients the right level of care along with improved access. We are pleased this process with the Health Policy Commission (HPC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) moved along several months faster than anticipated,” said Deborah Weymouth, president of HealthAlliance Hospital and interim president of Clinton Hospital.
The hospitals are on target for an early spring groundbreaking for the Emergency Department and an October 1 merger of HealthAlliance and Clinton Hospitals.
“I want to thank the teams at both hospitals for all of their hard work. This affirms our belief that both the merger and Hospital Improvement Plan strengthens the capacity and resources of both entities to maximize high quality, convenient, compassionate and affordable care to the communities we serve,” said Douglas Brown, JD, president, community hospitals, and chief administration officer of UMass Memorial Health Care.
The Emergency Department Expansion at UMass Memorial - HealthAlliance Hospital will improve the overall patient experience, add advanced technology, create additional private rooms and increase the number of behavioral health beds.
The merger is a big part of the strategic vision to grow both hospitals and capitalize on new opportunities for an expanded organization. The Hospital Improvement Plan/Emergency Department Expansion at HealthAlliance shows the investment in our collective future and our dedication to our patients and the community we serve.
Related Slideshow: Patient Care Quality Issues in Central MA Hospitals
Issue at Hand: In the wake of a changing medical field, the nurses are unionizing with the MNA to have a voice in their hospital in regards to patient care.
“Our goal in forming a union at Athol was first and foremost to ensure that our patients are given the best care possible,” said Denise Raymond, an emergency department nurse at Athol Hospital and a member of the organizing committee. “We made this decision with the best interests of this community and this hospital in mind. As registered nurses we are responsible for the care we provide to our patients and now for the first time we will have a say in how we deliver that care.”
Issue at Hand: The nurses delivered a petition to the hospital's CEO Deborah Weymouth asking to meet about concerns regarding cutting staff and merging the pediatric, labor and delivery, and maternity units. After initially agreeing to meet, Weymouth later refused and announced plans to press on with the proposed cuts and merger.
“We are shocked by our CEOs total disregard for the nurses and patients at this hospital as demonstrated by her refusal to hear what we have to say about changes that will impact the safety of our patients. “said Natalie M. Pereira, a nurse at the hospital and chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United. “She is the CEO, the buck stops with her and so does the responsibility for the safety of every patient in this hospital. It is all too clear that she cares more about the bucks than the patients at this facility, which only strengthens nurses’ resolve to speak out about the dangers of this plan.”
UMass Memorial: Memorial Campus
Issue at Hand: Nurses at the UMass Memorial's Memorial Campus have seen round after round of staffing cuts for not only nurses, but valuable support staff. They have also seen a closure of a medical floor, increased patient assignments, and the elimination of one-to-one sitters for high risk patients and the IV therapy team. Nurses have been ready to strike since 2013 and have cast a vote of no confidence in the Director of Nursing.
“These are the worst conditions at this hospital that I have seen since I began working here,” said Lynne Starbard, RN, Maternity Nurse at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Memorial Campus and Co-Chair of the nurses local bargaining unit. “Dickson was a physician who came up in this system; my hope is that he realizes what he is doing to patients and nurses by continually cutting important programs and position.”
UMass Memorial: University Campus
Issue at Hand: Nurses at UMass Memorial's University Campus share the grievances of the Memorial Campus, which include round after round of staffing cuts as well as the closure of a medical floor, increased patient assignments, and the elimination of one-to-one sitters for high risk patients and the IV therapy team.
“I think that conditions are actually getting worse,” said Ellen Smith, RN, Critical Care Nurse at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s University Campus and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit. “We met this morning – we have a staff meeting once a quarter – and we spoke about how unsafe the hospital is for patients; it’s absolutely crazy. We feel that our unit is unsafe; it isn’t safe for patients or nurses.”
Issue at Hand: Nurses have been battling against staff layoffs and poor patient care condition. Nurses are particularly upset about cuts on the medical surgical floor, as well as the telemetry floor and the emergency department, causing nurses to care for as many as eight patients at one time. The hospital - in mid-August - hired a new Chief Nursing Officer but changes remain to be seen.
“The fact that they have hired a new chief nursing officer means nothing to us yet,” said David Schildmeier, Director of Public Communications with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “If he is smart then he will immediately hire a number of nurses to benefit patient care. If he is hired and concerns of nurses aren’t addressed, then we will continue to fight and raise our concerns. The fact is this new hire needs to act more like a nurse than an executive or administrator.”
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