When the axe falls...

  1. 1
    I live in a town that has had two hospitals for as long as anyone can remember. One was the county hospital (now is run as a business, has share holders etc.) and the other was the Catholic Hospital.

    St. Marys was a mission of an order of nuns for eons, until they turned it over to Catholic Healthcare West and those people just ran the thing into the ground. Bad, bad business decisions, running it from a city on the other side of the Sierras, no local decision-making, tried to undercut the other hospital in town and lost bazillions in contracts (both hospitals are in the health-care insurance business).

    So bad was the situation that it looked like the place was about to be shuttered. (A hospital that has been here since the 19th century! Out West that makes it archeologically old!) Even though the other hospital is really large, the closure of St. Mary's would have left our town seriously under-bedded. But at the last minute another company swooped in and bought it!

    This past week, the new owners told every employee of St. Marys that they were fired. (Maybe they had a more delicate way to put it, but why quibble). Employees (former-employees) were told to submit new applications. If they hadn't heard back from the hospital in 8 weeks, forget about it. AND of course, they would be hired back at much lower wages.

    It has REALLY shaken our whole town. The news just came out Friday and I don't know if there are still patients in house, or if they hired temps for these next 2 months or what. This is going to really produce hard feelings in this town. I don't know if the new guys understand that folks around here hold grudges for a long, long time. What a boon to the other hospital!!!
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 18 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    Sucks. But I guess I can see why someone is doing that. Obviously the old budget wasn't working so they need to pay people less. Plus, maybe the environment was toxic and people are resistant to change so to create a new culture have to weed out the people who are going to resist the change. However, I can definitely see how people will decide to boycott that hospital.
    tewdles and lindarn like this.
  5. 2
    That really stinks. Makes you wonder where all this is going to lead.
    tewdles and Esme12 like this.
  6. 3
    Here's one wrinkle. Even though this is NV, the nurses at Mary's were organized/unionized by the California Nurses' Association which meant these nurses were being paid California wages... significantly more than across town at the other hospital.

    The best outcome would be that they only bring RN pay down to local levels. But, I'll tell you what... they may try to drive hourly pay way down, in which case the other hospital would take the next opportunity to do the same.
    tewdles, GrnTea, and lindarn like this.
  7. 4
    Don't know about nursing, but in computers, I was outsourced, downsized, right sized and whatever other "phrase du jour" was in use 4 times, sometimes just my department, sometimes the entire IT/IS group. When we were bought and sold, we were made to re-interview for our jobs, our benefits went down the toilet, and our working conditions always, always got worse -- less vacation, higher insurance, mandated that because we were "management" that OT didn't start until we'd worked 58 hours -- we all laughed, and said, "gee you mean we can ONLY work 58 hours and still have a job?!?" followed by "We were supposed to be getting OT?"

    jmqphd, if I were you, I'd probably start shopping my resume around. When St. Mary's falls, there's going to be a sudden glut of qualified help in your local market, from nurses to radiology to everything else. The other hospital's going to see prime pickings, and you guys will start hearing a lot of "we can replace you with a cheaper, laid off worker from St. Mary's."

    My opinion? Time to get out of Dodge and shop resumes before everybody else gets their resumes in first....
    noahsmama, himilayaneyes, tewdles, and 1 other like this.
  8. 3
    It's sort of happened before. Mary's went a long time with the fiction that they would NEVER reduce their number of "bedside nurses"... it looks bad to the public, don't you know. Bur what they were doing was getting rid of nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical specialists, etc. etc. "The other guys" picked up a lot of master's prepared nurses, don't know if they got them on a "fire sale" basis. I know that life at the big hospital in middle management is dicey. So, they probably offered them less, used them to beef up their Quality programs and then dumped many of them. It is not unusual there to see someone named "employee of the month" and then find out that in less than half a year, their star employee has been urged to "pursue other opportunities".

    It's tough out here.

    Interestingly... there is one little town in the Eastern part of our state where there is a lot of Gold mining. Everyone is employed, big multinational businesses... and their hospital is going gang-busters.

    I'm in education. With the trickle down effects of economic realities, I'm not assured the circumstances here won't touch me. But, I'm also old enough I can retire... if I can get health benefits somewhere. Oh well... if I can just stay employed another couple of years, I'll be out enjoying my golden years writing my memoirs.
    noahsmama, tewdles, and lindarn like this.
  9. 3
    I wander how someone could make a decision like that, (who obviously has NO money problems) and lay their head down at night to sleep. Also, I would quit before I would be the "middle man" who says, "it's beyond my control" and hands out the pink slips. I would quit before I would do something like this, and I am soooooo glad I was born without the stomach to do that. I regret a ton of decisions in my life, but I will never have that haunting me I pray.
    tewdles, lindarn, and Aurora77 like this.
  10. 1
    Quote from jmqphd
    Here's one wrinkle. Even though this is NV, the nurses at Mary's were organized/unionized by the California Nurses' Association which meant these nurses were being paid California wages... significantly more than across town at the other hospital.

    The best outcome would be that they only bring RN pay down to local levels. But, I'll tell you what... they may try to drive hourly pay way down, in which case the other hospital would take the next opportunity to do the same.
    Now that makes sense....they wanted to dump the union.
    tewdles likes this.
  11. 2
    needless to say, no matter how you look at the situation is all glum, however, i can't stop thinking about all of the medical and non medical staff being without a decent job, in such economy.
    tewdles and lindarn like this.
  12. 7
    Just have to post this. I feel Esme and jmqphd can fully appreciate from my perspective , as you are older nurses yourselves.

    I now work in a primary care family practice clinic after being hospital bedside for 30 yrs. My patient population is fairly healthy.. We have our share of HTN, DM( not too much IDDM) thyroid issues but no vastly debilitated patients. These are walky talky goabout your daily life patients I am the oldest, most experienced nurse in that clinic- by at least 20 yrs on my peers. My nurse manager has 6 yrs experience at best. I am agency/contract so my opinnion doesn't matter much nor is it appreciated and It has been made well known to me in their actions. I am excluded from the "RRT'team becasue of the agency status even though I have 7 yrs tele/cardiac surgery stepdown and am the only nurse with that experience. So when an RRT is called- I am religated to no respond. On the few occassions I have, I have been told- Thank you, your dismissed!! The med tech's are fresh out of tech school. They don't even look old enough to drive a car. The providers( MD,PA and NP) are also new inexperienced out of school. 6 days ago, a 55 yr old male came into clinic for his check up- had an EKG done with no prior abnormality, an abnormality is now found, provider unsure of the abnormality as is the provider the EKG was double checked with( the blind leading the blind- the inexperienced consulting the in experienced), asked the patient to return the next day for a CXR. Pt comes in for the CXR, radiology tech positions the pt for the film, leaves the room to take the film, comes back and finds the man dead on the floor. The RRT is called- no one knows how to use the AED.This 55 yr old man died.
    With all this getting rid of the experienced nursesand healthcare workers in general right and left, is this really worth all this? I am saying "These 'business suits' really don't know what they are doing". I do not believe for one hot minute this is the only facility that this is happening at.
    When they rehire or keep former employees- I will bet my last nickle the nurses with the most experience will not be rehired. MONEY, MONEY MONEY over a patient's life. And the business suit will never find themelves in this situation to loose a family member to lack of experience- because they have the money to pay for that experience. So this will never touch their life like it did this poor smuck.
    My thought- When the axe falls in healthcare- it will cost some one their life.
    Last edit by kcmylorn on Apr 9, '12
    noahsmama, ebear, tewdles, and 4 others like this.


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