For immediate release
News from the Michigan Nurses Association
Contact: Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535
Nurses Release Report on Patient Safety at Tenet DMC-Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital and File Lawsuit Showing Violations of Michigan Public Health Code
Nurses are in Negotiations Over Short Staffing, Which Leads to Patient Falls, Late Medications, Patients Left without Baths, Basic Hygiene and Other Necessary Care
Caregivers Will Ask State to Investigate; Launch Online Ad Campaign to Support Petition Drive
COMMERCE TOWNSHIP – Members of the Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (PNA-HVSH), an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, released a new report today on patient safety at their hospital.
Nurses voted to form their union in March 2016 and are currently bargaining for first contract at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (HVSH), with safe staffing a top priority.
Union members also announced today the filing of a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court, showing that HVSH – owned by Tenet DMC – has violated the whistleblower provisions of the Michigan Public Health Code. Hospital executives have repeatedly refused to accept reports of unsafe conditions in the hospital or respond within 60 days, as required by law.
Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care describes the impact of years of corporate cost cutting at the former non-profit community hospital. Nurses documented more than 240 patient safety issues at HVSH – nearly one each day – between January 1 and September 1, 2017.
Unsafe conditions due to short staffing include:
“When management pinches pennies by leaving us short staffed, it’s our patients who feel the pain,” said Pat Kampmann-Bush, RN, a recovery nurse who is chief steward of PNA-HVSH. “Safe staffing is a top priority for our first contract – and we believe we have a professional responsibility to report the unsafe conditions we have witnessed and documented.”
Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care is based on more than 240 Assignment Despite Objections (ADO) forms filed by nurses at HVSH – nearly one incident every day. Nurses use ADO forms when given an assignment they are unable to carry out safely in accordance with professional nursing standards.
“Management won’t look and management won’t listen, although we continue to discuss safe staffing during the bargaining process,” said Jeanie Kindermann, RN, a cardiology nurse and member of the executive board of PNA-HVSH. “Our supervisors just flat out refused to accept hundreds of Assignment Despite Objection forms. We have a right to blow the whistle on unsafe conditions – and that’s why we’re taking the hospital to court.”
The refusal of HVSH executives to accept reports from nurses, according to the lawsuit filed today, “subjects the patients of the Hospital to unsafe conditions, inadequate medical care, and potential physical harm.”
PNA-HVSH will submit Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, calling on state regulators to investigate patient care at Tenet DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital.
The Michigan Nurses Association is also launching an online advertising campaign, seeking public support for nurse staffing levels that are safe for patients at HVSH. The safe staffing petition can be found online at insideDMC.org.
“Our patients understand why safe staffing is an important bargaining issue for our union and we’ve got tremendous public support,” said Kathleen Lehman, RN, an emergency room nurse who is president of the PNA-HVSH. “We knocked on doors in the communities surrounding our hospital this summer, and virtually every person we met signed our petition. Nobody wants to be left alone without a nurse when they’re in the hospital – and we don’t want that to happen to any of our patients.”
Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, a 158-bed facility, was founded as a non-profit hospital in 1986. In 1997, HVSH was acquired by the Detroit Medical Center, which in turn was purchased for $1.5 billion in 2010 by Vanguard Health Systems, a for-profit health care company based in Tennessee. In 2013, Vanguard was purchased for $1.8 billion by Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a Dallas-based multinational company with over 130,000 employees and more than $19 billion in annual revenue.
The Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (PNA-HVSH) represents 350 RNs at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.