Claiming staffing deficiencies that place healthcare workers and patients at risk, a nursing union has filed a lawsuit against Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Detroit.

The hospital refuted the charges in press reports, essentially characterizing the action as a negotiating ploy. A request for comment from the hospital had not been answered as this issue of Hospital Employee Health went to press.

The Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital filed a lawsuit and issued a report1 outlining the alleged working conditions. (Text of the lawsuit can be found at: http://bit.ly/2pT5NOi.)

“As Huron Valley‐Sinai Hospital (HVSH) has changed from a stand‐alone nonprofit community hospital to just one unit of a giant for‐profit healthcare chain, workers and patients have felt the impact of corporate cost‐cutting policies,” according to the nursing group’s report. “With an increased focus on generating revenues, many nursing and support staff positions are not posted and go unfilled, creating tremendous pressure on HVSH workers to do more with less. Nurses at Huron Valley‐Sinai Hospital are in active contract negotiations with management trying to address the working conditions and staffing concerns reflected in this report.”

Among the nurses’ complaints and allegations are the following:

• patient falls in medical/surgical and intensive care units;

• late medications;

• failure to deliver basic hygiene and human care;

• patients left unattended during critical situations;

• more than 150 instances of nurses going without breaks or lunches during shifts that last as long as 12 hours;

• nurses assigned without proper training;

• management condoning or ignoring unsafe practices;

• equipment failure.

“Nurses at HVSH voted to form their union in 2016 in order to improve their working conditions,” the report states. “They are currently negotiating their first contract. Securing safe and effective nurse‐to‐patient staffing levels is their highest bargaining priority. The Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley‐Sinai Hospital welcomes community support to achieve their goals.”

REFERENCE

1. Professional Nurses Association. Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care: The Consequences of Short Staffing at Tenet DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. Nov. 2, 2017. Available at: http://www.insidedmc.org. Accessed Dec. 29, 2017.