Care clash - Page 3

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

Meanwhile, ASCFME's report has raised eyebrows in the California Senate. Sen. Ed Hernandez, who represents part of Los Angeles County and chairs the Senate Health Committee, "has expressed an interest in looking at it further," according to committee consultant Vincent Marchand. "We may decide to call a hearing" sometime in May to see if further action is warranted, he added.

Sen. Yee lambasted the UC system for what he called "blatant disregard for the working staff." Yee said the layoffs raised concerns about the quality of patient care, saying, "How do you lay off 300 individuals and think that it's not going to compromise patient care?"

Yee added that he thought the UC budget ought to be scrutinized when it goes before the Senate. "Although the Constitution gives the UCs of California tremendous autonomy via the Board of Regents, ultimately we in the Legislature still allocate dollars ... so there is a legislative and moral responsibility that we need to exercise," he said. "Are the dollars within UC being used appropriately to take care of patients and in ensuring their safety?"

CONSTRUCTION, COMPENSATION AND VIPS

In early 2015, UCSF will open its new Mission Bay complex, a 289-bed facility featuring a children's hospital with an urgent/emergency care unit and an adult care unit for cancer patients. The estimated price tag for the project is about $1.5 billion, and construction costs associated the project were referenced in an Oct. 12 letter Laret, UCSF's CEO, issued to hospital staff announcing the pending staffing cuts.

Thrush questions decisions made at the highest administrative levels. Laret is "eliminating 300 jobs, and we're opening a new facility, and he's getting a $300,000 bonus," he said, referring to a "retention bonus" expected to be awarded this year, which could be followed by a $400,000 bonus in 2014. "Why is he getting a huge bonus if we're having to lay off so much staff?"

With a total compensation of around $1.2 million in 2011, Laret's salary seems excessive in comparison with that of frontline workers — and it is. At the same time, it seems to be within the realm of a CEO of a major medical facility, a quick Internet search reveals.

ACSFME's report targets Laret specifically, saying he repeatedly emphasized to hospital staff, "When you see patients, you should see dollar signs." Johnson, the MRI technician, told the Guardian he heard Laret make this statement years ago, when he first came on as CEO. "I know that some physicians were outraged by it," he said. "I heard that the physicians told him to stop, and he stopped saying it." UCSF did not respond to Guardian requests for a comment on this allegation.

The report also focuses on a practice of so-called "VIPs" — patients connected with the UC Regents or other influential persons — receiving preferential care. "I got called in on a Sunday to take care of a celebrity, because they had a headache," said Johnson. "I've seen patients have to be on hold so we can scan the [VIPs]. They definitely get preference. I've been told, if one of those VIPs comes in, we have to get them on the scanner." UCSF didn't respond to Guardian questions concerning VIP patient treatment, either.

LABOR DISPUTE

Montiel, the media relations director for the UC system, responded to a Guardian query with a wholesale rejection of the detailed 40-page report, without directly addressing any of the allegations. Instead, he said the whole controversy arose from a labor rift over pension reform.

"These claims by AFSCME coincide with a bargaining impasse, and the scheduling of a strike vote by its patient care technical workers," Montiel wrote in an email. "Quality of care is not the issue. The real issue is pension reform. AFSCME has resisted pension reforms that eight unions representing 14 other UC bargaining units have agreed to. The reforms also apply to UC faculty and staff not in unions."

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. . .

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

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