Care clash - Page 2

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


DANGEROUSLY LOW STAFFING LEVELS?

Billed as a "whistleblower report," 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.

Peppered with anecdotal horror stories describing things like dried blood observed on operating room tables at facilities where custodial staffing was cut to a bare minimum, or an incident in which a mentally altered patient was found on a window sill at a medical facility where harrowed nursing assistants' attention was divided too many ways, the report portrays an unsafe environment that seems out of sync with the system's reportedly healthy earnings derived from patient care.

"Bring it up at bargaining, and you get told to kick rocks," said union spokesperson Todd Stenhouse. AFSCME has called upon state agencies and lawmakers to investigate UC policies on "cutting costs, reducing staff, and maximizing revenue."

"We've been getting lots of reports about short staffing, and no coverage for breaks," said Tim Thrush, a diagnostic sonographer who works with patients experiencing complications in pregnancy, and has worked at UCSF for years. "If you get a break or a lunch, it seems to be rare — even though it's state law." Thrush added. "It looks to us ... that UC's response to us raising concerns ... is to say, OK well then let's make it worse. Let's lay off a whole bunch of people.

"It's been very disappointing," he said, "and it's getting to be kind of scary."

The report emphasizes California Department of Public Health findings of violations relating to bedsores from 2008 to 2012. The sores can occur if a patient stays in one position for too long, causing reduced blood flow and damage to skin tissue, and have been linked to infection.

Among those affected by the layoffs were "lift and turn team" members, including care workers tasked with turning immobilized patients to prevent bedsores.

Ironically, Rush-Monroe, the UCSF spokesperson, noted in response to a Guardian query that a $300,000 "incentive pay" bonus CEO Mark Laret received in 2011 was based on multiple "clinical improvement goals" that had to be satisfied in order to qualify for the 2011 compensation increase. One of these targets was a reduction in the number of hospital-acquired bedsores.

While the union report points to rising instances of bedsores, and the UCSF administration claims they were reduced to the extent that the CEO was monetarily rewarded for the accomplishment, a quick look at scores on hospital ranking website California Hospital Compare showed that pressure sore rankings at UCSF are almost exactly even with the statewide average.

Meanwhile, hospital rankings of patient safety indicators on Health Grades, an online consumer ranking website, didn't reflect any dramatic differences between patient safety scores at UCSF, CPMC or Kaiser Permanente.

QUESTIONS RAISED

In the midst of these staffing cuts, AFSCME charges, the $6.9 billion system has enjoyed robust finances, with UCSF earning $100 million in net revenue last year. Between 2009 to 2012, management positions increased by 38 percent system-wide, while payroll costs for managers grew by 50 percent, with an additional $100 million a year allocated to administrative staffing.

According to a 2013-14 budgetary report prepared at the UC level, the system's network of public universities have suffered deep financial cuts while its five medical centers "have continued to flourish and grow," and "enjoy robust earnings."

A revenue breakdown in the UC budget report shows that 62 percent of medical center earnings system-wide were derived from private health care plan reimbursements, while about a third came from Medicare and MediCal, funded by the federal and state government.

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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