The lift team bill was passed by both houses and placed on the Governors desk. He vetoed it.
Nurses push governor to sign 'lift team bill'
- Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer
Friday, September 3, 2004
Mario Gutierrez and Jay Pimentel are two beefy University of California health care workers who spend 12 hours a day lifting heavy patients in and out of bed.
On Thursday, they circled the entrance of UCSF Medical Center with 20 union nurses who carried lightweight cardboard picket signs asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would, in effect, require all hospitals to hire more people like Gutierrez and Pimentel.
If the governor signed the bill, it would be the first law in the nation to forbid manual lifting of patients. Instead, hospitals would be required to have trained "lift teams" on-call 24 hours a day, who -- like Gutierrez and Pimentel -- would use an array of mini-cranes and specialized beds and chairs to move patients safely.
"We get patients here who weigh up to 600 pounds,'' said Gutierrez.
"Our work here,'' said Pimentel, "is nonstop."
The fate of the so-called "lift team bill" is uncertain. It passed the Legislature last Friday with the support of Kaiser Permanente, the state's largest private hospital operator, but virtually every other hospital in the state opposed it.
The University of California, which runs hospitals at its medical schools, was among those fighting the bill, and that is why the California Nurses Association -- the state's largest union of nurses -- set up the picket lines at six UC hospitals Thursday.
"We have the highest rate of back injuries among professions, and that includes truck drivers,'' said union spokeswoman Liz Jacobs. "The bill is on the governor's desk, and UC is opposing it.''
Bills signed and vetoes by Arnold in 2004: