Care clash

UC hospital workers allege unsafe working conditions

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A flyer addressing UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret -- the text reads "Layoffs Hurt Patient Care and Families"
POSTER DESIGN BY SETH NEWTON PATEL

The first week in April was a rough time for Connie Salguero. The Filipina nursing assistant, who says she would've been eligible to retire in two years, reported to her shift at the University of California San Francisco medical center at Mt. Zion on April 1 — and was told she was laid off. Two days after that, she was forced out of her home through an eviction, but fortuitously met an elderly Filipina woman who said Salguero could stay with her until she gets back on her feet.

"This manager said to me, Connie, come here, let's talk," and delivered the bad news, Salgeuro recounted, getting a little misty-eyed. Two other Filipina hospital assistants in her unit met with the same fate that day, she said.

"I'm trying to find a job," Salguero said. "It's very hard. But I will survive." She projected a sense of resolve despite the whirlwind of sudden stress, which seemed fitting for someone whose job entailed feeding, bathing, and assisting up to ten bedridden patients at a time, many of them suffering from cancer.

Salguero said management told her the layoffs were necessary because of the most recent wave of federal budget cuts. But Cristal Java, lead organizer for UC patient care technical workers' union, AFSCME 3299, interjected during an interview with the Bay Guardian to refute that explanation, calling it "total crap. They don't want to tell workers the truth," Java said, "which is that the hospitals are extremely profitable."

UCSF ELIMINATES 300 POSITIONS

Salguero is one of about 25 UCSF certified nursing assistants whose recent layoffs prompted AFSCME to register a formal complaint with the Public Employee Relations Board, an agency that mediates labor disputes. The CNA layoffs hit in March and early April as part of a raft of cutbacks that eliminated a total of 300 full-time equivalent positions. Some of those positions were unfilled while other staffers were reassigned elsewhere or had their hours cut; a total of 75 individuals were laid off.

The cuts prompted union representatives to organize a protest at UCSF's Parnassus Campus April 4, with San Francisco Sup. John Avalos and California Sen. Leland Yee turning out in support of the workers. Salguero was there too, waving a sign, and she wound up telling her story for an international broadcast by a Filipino news station. Things took a dramatic turn when police arrived on the scene, and Union President Kathryn Lybarger and some others were escorted off the premises in handcuffs.

Asked to explain the rationale behind the layoffs, UCSF spokesperson Karin Rush-Monroe responded, "We evaluated the impact of the Affordable Care Act, expected reductions in Medicare, MediCal and private insurance reimbursements," as well as employee benefits and rising costs in drugs and medical supplies, and ultimately decided on a 4 percent labor budget cut. "We must make a 'course correction' if we are to maintain our resources to care for our patients," Rush-Monroe said.

But the staffing cuts hit just weeks after AFSCME published a blistering report, titled "A Question of Priorities," charging that UC has prioritized profit margins at its medical centers since 2009 while needlessly eliminating frontline staff positions, all to the detriment of patient care.

"It feels very much like they're chasing down the Wall Street model of business," Randall Johnson, an MRI technologist at UCSF Parnassus Campus who is active with Local 3299, told the Guardian. "We're pressed to move faster and faster and faster. It's more about profit than it is about patient care."

Steve Montiel, spokesperson for UC Office of the President, told us that UCSF is "consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report," and pointed out that the AFSCME report coincided with an ongoing contract dispute concerning patient care technical workers, which may lead to a strike authorization in the next few weeks.

Comments

can help make a hospital more efficient. A hospital is a business and not an institution for providing employment. Headcounts come and go, raise and decline.

We give managers the job of managing, and trying to second guess which employees they should retain and which they should let go is pointless.

And of course the Sequester will necessitate cuts in some healthcare and social services - the Democrats in DC understood that when they passed that law.

Live goes on, things change, accept it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

So if she'd been taking care of 15 or better yet 20 bedridden patients a day she would have achieved the necessary threshold of efficiency to keep her job?

So long as you personally weren't the 15th or worse yet, 20th patient.

Oh wait, I get it, you're a congressperson. You patient/caretaker ratio will 1/2 or 3, what with the gold plated Cadillac health you crooks vote yourselves.

Posted by pete moss on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 10:55 am

But it is somebody else's job to determine how many staff we can afford.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

"least effective"? and how did you come up with that answer? Did you see personally look through the people that were laid off and knew that they were not an essential part of their team or maybe they were the bottom of the barrel based on your assessment?

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

Layoffs in a hospital with record profits? I agree with the union -- "total crap!" CEOs should give back their bonuses so that patients don't suffer and workers can feed their families.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 9:53 am

It's State run.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

The Chancellor of UCSF earns about $450,000 annually. this doesn't include the house with the full staff and other nice little benis in the package.

And yes, they do get bonuses

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

Increasing efficiency just means less people doing more which necessitates providers giving less contact to patients. That is antithetical to providing quality care. Even if UCSF was on track to break even for the next three years, they should look at reducing medical administration aka "the people who add cost without adding value" instead of medical staff aka "the people who add cost as well as adding value." That they are choosing to lay off front line workers while increasing their administrative budget shows that their priorities lie in commodifying healthcare and treating patients as cashcows.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:32 am

mean that we can do more with the same or less people.

Why ever pay more than we need to?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

This article is pretty incredible.

This:

Sen. Yee: "How do you lay off 300 individuals and think that it's not going to compromise patient care?"

Um, pretty simply answer Senator Smarty Pants: unemployed = uninsured = sick people can't pay for the care that they need. UC's census is down. WAY down. Unemployment has doubled in this state since 2007.

My Question: How do you frame such a loaded, ridiculous question and think it's not going to accentuate your shillish nature?

This:

"She projected a sense of resolve despite the whirlwind of sudden stress, which seemed fitting for someone whose job entailed feeding, bathing, and assisting up to ten bedridden patients at a time, many of them suffering from cancer."

So. . . while there are no mandated patient / nurse assistant ratio's, there ARE state mandated patient / nurse ratios. So these patients above ARE getting the care that they need - perhaps not from low-skilled nurse assistants, but probably from educated caregivers with a broader scope of practice.

This:

"AFSCME's 40-page publication portrays an internal environment throughout UC medical centers in which staffers — particularly frontline workers — are exhausted, overburdened, and dangerously likely to make mistakes."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh boy, that was a good one! Exhausted. . . from surfing the web all day and plotting FMLA abuse.

This:

"It feels very much like they're chasing down the Wall Street model of business," Randall Johnson, an MRI technologist at UCSF Parnassus Campus who is active with Local 3299, told the Guardian. "We're pressed to move faster and faster and faster. It's more about profit than it is about patient care."

Oh Randall. . . where do you fall in the schedule below for taking pictures all day "faster and faster and faster":

Title: 9023 - RAD TCHNO
Exempt: Non-exempt
Bargaining Unit: EX
SubFOC: CA
Tier: 1
On Call Rate 1: 50%
Shift Differential (EV): 3.00
Shift Differential (NT): 4.50
Shift Differential (WD): 1.50
Effective Date: Jan 20, 2013
Step Hourly Yearly
1.0 41.61 86,880
2.0 42.46 88,656
3.0 43.33 90,468
4.0 44.20 92,292
5.0 45.11 94,188
6.0 46.03 96,108
7.0 46.95 98,028
8.0 47.88 99,972
9.0 48.85 102,000
10.0 49.82 104,028
11.0 50.83 106,128
12.0 51.83 108,216

Answer: Nowhere. $150,887.99 in 2011. It's public record.

We've got it soooooo good here - why are so you determined to make us look like fool? The pay-scales, the pensions, the benefits - the. . . wait, pensions??? Those still exist??? Not for long if the pubic reads your quotes and decides we're ALL entitled little shits like you are. SO MANY CALIFORNIANS would do anything to work for UC. No wonder everyone is for pension reform, when you make it seem as if those who still may get one don't deserve it. F'n Goofball. . .

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

From 6/10:

UCSF generates 39,134 jobs in the Bay Area which constitutes 5.6% of SF’s total employment. Of the 21k (actually 22,364 now) of those based at UCSF, only 5,698 are academic employees, leaving 14,665 professional and support staff and 1,540 managers.

Only the City itself has more employees, and barely (25.5K).

The Mission Bay area is also about to become home to a new hospital complex, expected to generate approx 2000 jobs.

Thank goodness for UC's good paying jobs. . .

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 12:20 am

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Posted by Horamareaskprux on Jul. 03, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

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Posted by Horamareaskprux on Jul. 03, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

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