One of the two chief nurse representatives at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, who is a member of the California Nurses Association, spoke out regarding last week’s layoffs at three local hospitals in Long Beach.
Brandy Welch, a nurse at Miller Children’s, said that out of the 130 total employees laid off on Thursday and Friday, 19 were nurses.
“We are disappointed that layoffs have occurred and that that’s how they chose to go,” Welch told the Post. “I hope they realize that regardless of who they lay off it ultimately impacts patient care. [...]Everyone is a resource to the nurses, so when you’re laying off anyone around us, it does impact. And there’s no way around that.”
Welch said a physical therapist, a child life specialist and nurse practitioners were just a few of the employees laid off and questioned how that doesn’t impact patient care and safety. She commented on how the nurses are already dealing with limited resources, saying that nurses are “splitting the hallways.”
“We have different halls around the main desk in each of our units,” Welch explained. “And they have nurses having patients on one hall and another. There’s constantly a breaking of the ratios, we have addressed it to the chief nursing office multiple times with minimal response back.”
In response to Bishop’s statement that hospitals in California and across the nation are experiencing higher costs, decreasing reimbursement and increasing numbers of government-sponsored patients, Welch said there has to be another way to address these issues.
“I don’t pretend to know all of the operations of the hospital, and don’t have a full understanding of the mechanisms of how they operate, but I’m sure there’s other ways to cut that would not affect patient care and nurses,” she said.
“I can guarantee you any of the nurses could probably validate their position and how important it is to patient care.”
Welch said that the nurses at Miller Children’s are currently having meetings with management to figure out how to retain nurses in other areas that will benefit patient care and safety. Their next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.
“[...]We hope there’ll be some resolution as of Wednesday,” Welch said.
PREVIOUSLY: Over 100 Employees Laid Off By MemorialCare Health System at Three Local Hospitals
1/27/17 at 5:55PM | Less than three percent of employees in primarily “non-clinical areas” at Long Beach Memorial, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach were laid off this week.
The layoffs of the 130 employees took place on Thursday and Friday, according to Long Beach Memorial spokeswoman Richele Steele.
The positions were across all levels and throughout all three hospitals, said Steele.
“Due to significant changes and challenges facing hospitals throughout the country and in local communities, Long Beach Memorial and its two sister hospitals in Long Beach announced a less than three percent reduction in staff, primarily in non-clinical areas,” said Long Beach Memorial CEO, John Bishop, in a statement.
When asked if the employees laid off would receive severance packages and any other type of help, Steele answered yes. The employees affected were offered career transition services and the opportunity to apply to open positions within the healthcare system, according to Bishop.
“Quality patient care is our number one priority,” said Steele. “We have not implemented any changes that would impact the safe quality care we deliver to the community.”
Hospitals in California and across the US are experiencing higher costs, decreasing reimbursement and increasing numbers of government-sponsored patients, with the three local hospitals as no exception, according to Bishop.
“Although the decision to rebalance a workforce is never an easy one, managing our resources prudently will allow us to be well positioned to serve our community into the future,” Bishop stated. “Long Beach Memorial has been serving the healthcare needs of its community for more than 100 years and our number one priority is offering exceptional care and service at all levels of the organization.”
The California Nurses Association did not respond to multiple requests for comment. We will update this article with any responses we receive.