Nurse Says He Was Fired After Speaking Out Against Hospital Merger

  1. The California Nurses Association has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Watsonville Hospital for firing 36-year veteran nurse Tim Thomas.

    It alleges Thomas was terminated after criticizing the merger of Watsonville's Hospital's parent company, Community Health Systems, with Health Management Associates at HMA's Florida shareholder meeting in early January. HMA shareholders approved the $7.6 billion acquisition. And if the deal is successful, the combined company will form the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country in terms of the number of hospitals.

    We reached out to Community Health Systems, but they didn't return our call before the time of broadcast.Now joining us is Tim Thomas. He worked at Watsonville Hospital for the past 30 years before being fired for allegedly speaking out about patient safety....

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  3. by   psu_213
    I agree with the nurse that the involvement of for profit corporations is not good for health care. However, you cannot publicly criticize your employer and their policies. I'm certainly not happy that this gentleman was fired and I applaud him for taking a stand--but you cannot go about it in the way he did and not expect some repercussions, including loss of job. Sad situation all around.
  4. by   herring_RN
    It seems to me that if what happened three years ago was just cause for termination they would have fired hime then.
    Union alleges Watsonville nurse fired for labor activism

    Union leaders say the firings are retaliatory, and come at a time when the hospital chain is already under court order at three of its facilities in California and Ohio for retaliatory behavior and violation of nurses rights.

    A group of Watsonville nurses protested the Thomas firing Tuesday, and a candlelight vigil in his support will be held 5-7 p.m. Friday at the hospital.

    "We're viewing this as a systemwide attack on the nurses we represent throughout this hospital chain," said Damian Tryon, a labor representative with the California Nurses Association. "This is really them going after anyone willing to speak on behalf of nurses at the hospitals."

    Watsonville hospital spokeswoman Cindy Weigelt declined to comment.
    "Out of respect for the privacy of our employees, we do not comment on personnel matters," she wrote in an email.

    A spokeswoman from Community Health Systems did not respond to a request for comment.

    According to Tryon, the basis for the firing was a discrepancy between a doctor's note and a record Thomas kept. The incident occurred three years ago, and it's unclear how it came to light at this time, Tryon said. Neither Thomas or another employee involved remembered the matter, he said.

    "I never have seen anybody pull something out of the blue like this," said Thomas, who has been the nurses chief union representative for most of his time at Watsonville. He said he believes the hospital used the incident as a pretext for a firing that was based on his union activity.

    Thomas was active in the nurses union prior to the Jan. 8 protest in Naples, Fla., where Health Management Associate's shareholders were considering the merger with Community Health Systems. In addition to his union activity at Watsonville, he helped organize other medical facilities in the system....

    Union alleges Watsonville nurse fired for labor activism - Santa Cruz Sentinel
  5. by   herring_RN
    I don't like the BIG profit motive in healthcare.
    Fair pay for caregivers, support staff, and physicians is good. BIG pay to executives when nurse staffing is insufficient is wrong.
    Community Health SystemsCEO Wayne T. Smith compensation was $8,266,574.00 in 2012

    COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS INC Executive Salaries & Other Compensation |
    Last edit by herring_RN on Feb 28, '14 : Reason: formatting
  6. by   BlueDevil, DNP
    Sounds to me like they have wanted his hide for a while. He just gave them cause.
  7. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from BlueDevil, DNP
    Sounds to me like they have wanted his hide for a while. He just gave them cause.
    Really? What cause did he give? Sounds like they had to trump one up.
  8. by   Havin' A Party!
    Applaud Tim for his courageousness, and believe 100% in his sincerity and concern for patients.

    His position statement before the camera and his substantiating logic however leave a lot to be desired. Believe he could have been much better prepared for his time in the limelight.
  9. by   BlueDevil, DNP
    Quote from TriciaJ
    Really? What cause did he give? Sounds like they had to trump one up.
    Huh? He made critical public comments about his employer. Why would they keep on anyone that did that? I'm sure he knew he'd likely get fired, anyone could see that as a logical consequence. Apparently he is passionate about the merger and decided to speak his mind, damn the repercussions. He's free to do so, but not free to do do with impunity.
  10. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from BlueDevil, DNP
    ... I'm sure he knew he'd likely get fired...