Speaking out at St. Joe’s: National Union of Healthcare Workers calls for action

EUREKA, CA., (KIEM)- Close to 100 people stand in solidarity with healthcare workers, declaring a “staffing crisis” at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. The National Union of Healthcare Worker and California Nurses Association organized the rally and press conference to draw attention to what they say are dangerous staffing conditions. Protesters say profits are being put before patients, and denied overtime and adequate shift coverage workers are up against terrible conditions.

These claims, the hospital says, are misleading. Below is the complete statement from Dr. Roberta Luskin-Hawke, the Chief Executive Officer at St. Joseph Health:

“As a physician leader, patient safety and quality care are my highest priorities. Since my arrival, the leadership team and I have been focused on ways we can enhance the care of our patients and support our caregivers in this work. I’m very proud that over recent years, St. Joseph Health has made substantial commitments to meeting the healthcare needs of the community including development of a Level III Trauma Program, implementation of state of the art radiation oncology care, development of the Family Medicine Residency Program and recruitment of physicians and other caregivers. The willingness to evolve as health care is transformed across the country and the commitment to safety and quality care are some of the things that most attracted me to St. Joseph Health, an organization that has been committed to caring for the health and well-being of this community for nearly 100 years. Our work helps the people of this community live better, healthier lives.

These facts are why it was all the more disappointing to read the latest misleading claims by the unions, many of which have been addressed previously. Indeed, our hospital recently underwent a site visit and review by the California Department of Public Health, which found we are in full compliance regarding staffing. And under no circumstance has a patient death occurred in our facility due to the use of bed alarms.

As health care in our country evolves, so too must our work. We are challenging the way we have done things and seeking opportunities to make the work we do easier and more aligned. We are making changes to some of our processes, programs and services and understand that these changes are difficult for the unions to understand. Rather than fighting change on its face, we invite the unions to seek to understand how change will benefit this community, our patients and caregivers. We invite the unions to work with hospital leadership as we respond to the rapidly evolving health care climate, move toward the future, and work to ensure the sustainability of our organization.”

This is the unedited press release from the National Union of Healthcare Workers, ahead of today’s events: