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PA: State Cites WilkesBarre General "Systemic" Failure to Provide Adequate Nursing Staff

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From Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals

Nov. 19th, 2018

State Cites Wilkes-Barre General for "Systemic" Failure to Provide Adequate Nursing Staff

Quote

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) cited Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for systemic violations related to inadequate staffing and an industry watchdog group gave the hospital a "C" for patient safety.

In response to a large packet of documented patient care and staffing concerns at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital (WBGH) submitted by registered nurses of the Wyoming Valley Nurses Association in July, PA DOH initiated an unannounced onsite investigation on September 10 that concluded September 14.

Per their report, the PA DOH found a "systemic nature of non-compliance with regards to nursing services" citing, among other evidence, that management "failed to schedule a sufficient number of RNs and/or ancillary staff on the nursing units for 81 of 148 shifts reviewed." The report found 91 open RN positions and reliance on an excessive use of overtime. (1)

Investigators cited WBGH for violations of nineteen state and federal health codes related to patient rights, staffing, and emergency services. The findings were based on interviews with at least 61 WBGH employees and multiple patients, as well as review of staffing grids, schedules, and selected medical records....

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is owned by for-profit Community Health Systems based in Tennessee.

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Hopefully we will see more of this. Kudos to the nurses for reporting rather than simply accepting unsafe conditions as so often seems to be the case.

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Hallelujah! This is what can happen when enough people stick together and raise a collective voice. It's not okay to work off the clock and tolerate other nonsense that comes with inadequate staffing. It's not okay to undermine your coworkers because you want management to see you as the non-problem child. It's not okay to let someone else speak out on everyone's behalf and not publicly back that person.

Kudos to the nurses at Wilkes-Barre General.

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Wow. Wow. Wow.

Wonder what this will mean for any pending medical malpractice litigation that names the hospital?

This should make the earth feel shaky there?

Get the checkbook out and get right with yourselves WBGH. Patients DESERVE better. And nurses there deserve Saint status.

91 (Ninety One - that is SHAMEFUL) OPEN positions for NURSES tells everyone it's a terrible place to work as a NURSE. A complete hell hole. YIKES.

Better clean that house. They must have known it. That couldn't have been a surprise. They have big systems problems. 91??? Wow. Hopefully, they will be heaping goodness on those amazing nurses that stuck it out with them.

:angel:

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Hallelujah! This is what can happen when enough people stick together and raise a collective voice. It's not okay to work off the clock and tolerate other nonsense that comes with inadequate staffing. It's not okay to undermine your coworkers because you want management to see you as the non-problem child. It's not okay to let someone else speak out on everyone's behalf and not publicly back that person.

Kudos to the nurses at Wilkes-Barre General.

I like this a billion times.

I have been saying this for years, decades.

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Wow. Wow. Wow.

Wonder what this will mean for any pending medical malpractice litigation that names the hospital?

This should make the earth feel shaky there?

Get the checkbook out and get right with yourselves WBGH. Patients DESERVE better. And nurses there deserve Saint status.

91 (Ninety One - that is SHAMEFUL) OPEN positions for NURSES tells everyone it's a terrible place to work as a NURSE. A complete hell hole. YIKES.

Better clean that house. They must have known it. That couldn't have been a surprise. They have big systems problems. 91??? Wow. Hopefully, they will be heaping goodness on those amazing nurses that stuck it out with them.

:angel:

Only 91?

I think that hospital's situation is not at all unusual.

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Better clean that house. They must have known it. That couldn't have been a surprise. They have big systems problems. 91??? Wow. Hopefully, they will be heaping goodness on those amazing nurses that stuck it out with them.

:angel:

I strongly doubt they'll be heaping goodness. Most likely they've launched a full scale investigation to find the ringleaders.

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This trend needs to start in Nursing Homes, too.

In the NHs I've worked in or visited, I've met few truly "bad apples". But lots of staff who are overwhelmed and burnt out from understaffing.

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The healthcare compliance programs really have been adopted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Mandated corporate compliance that involves significant oversight by government and private institutions, sanctions can and do occur in the form of Medicare reimbursement decreases or no reimbursement at all should be enough to scare those who abuse the healthcare operating environment however the sad fact is corporations have and continue to find loopholes that affect all areas of operation from staffing to food services. Having been in management for years/decades I am not a firm believer in unions however when the corporate compliance continues to be degraded adding another layer of eyes on compliance would only serve to assist not only staffing but patient cares.

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Why don't the hospitals fill the positions? That's what I've never understood. When I was still searching for employment I applied to a little hospital just a few minutes from where I live. The friends that I had there were always saying they were understaffed and hardly approved from time off, forced OT, etc... Isn't it cheaper to pay another nurse regular pay instead of the OT they pay their existing nurses who are burning out? I can't tell you how many applications I put in, not a single call. I guess I don't understand the administrative or financial angles, but filling the positions seems more cost effective in the long run.

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Why don't the hospitals fill the positions? That's what I've never understood. When I was still searching for employment I applied to a little hospital just a few minutes from where I live. The friends that I had there were always saying they were understaffed and hardly approved from time off, forced OT, etc... Isn't it cheaper to pay another nurse regular pay instead of the OT they pay their existing nurses who are burning out? I can't tell you how many applications I put in, not a single call. I guess I don't understand the administrative or financial angles, but filling the positions seems more cost effective in the long run.

Typically there are reasons the positions aren't filled:

-poor working conditions

-poor pay

-regional shortages

-other employers are more attractive

As for cheaper to fill a position rather than pay OT, not always- no additional benefits, no doubling up on staffing during orientation.

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So I guess they care most about the bottom line, as usual. Who cares about the overworked nurses. Everyone who works at this little hospital I speak of says it's ordinarily a great place to work. But the refusing to fill positions while simultaneously listing them as 'if' they are trying to fill them is new, something they've never seen. Can't tell you how many automated email responses I received saying, "we've decided not to fill this position." But they tell their current employees they are listing them...

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