*MEDIA ADVISORY* Nurses sound alarm on SoCal’s hospital staffing crisis: Patient safety watchdog agency turns blind eye

For:    November 6, 2017
CONTACT: Terry Carter, (805) 312-0024

WHAT:    The Registered Nurses and Healthcare Professionals of SEIU Local 121RN, joined by Senate Health Committee Chair Dr. Ed Hernandez, will gather in front of the San Bernardino offices of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Nurses will expose top level agency administrators’ slow, inadequate—often nonexistent—responses to official complaints against Southern California hospitals’ illegal and dangerous lack of staffing. Nurses cite unnecessary illness and even death in hospitals across the southland that they say are directly attributable to illegally low staffing of nurses, as well as grossly inadequate staffing of support personnel.

WHY:    Nurses will speak out to hold CDPH administrators accountable for ensuring patient safety. Nurses report numerous patient safety violations to CDPH and have not seen the critical corrective measures needed to ensure that staffing problems are remedied. They have exhausted efforts to blow the whistle on patient safety while CDPH—the agency tasked with investigating and enforcing the laws on minimum staffing ratios—does not effectively respond. The agency’s ground level Surveyors say their hands are tied by a bureaucracy that prevents them from holding hospitals accountable until a death or serious injury results. Nurses following up on resolution to their complaints of dangerously low staffing have been rebuffed with dismissive official responses such as “what do you want the hospital to do?” or “we’d take action if there was a resulting death.” CDPH leadership sends a message to area hospitals when it does not demand a remedy: it’s okay to ignore required staffing baselines. And nurses who stand up to hospitals and refuse illegal assignments that endanger patients are often disciplined by their employers—even suspended—in an attempt to silence them. Nurses will not wait for another patient death to move CDPH.

WHO:    Registered Nurses; State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, Chair of Senate Health Committee

WHERE:    California Department of Public Health,
464 West Fourth Street, San Bernardino, CA 92401

WHEN:    Monday, November 6, 2017 **RAIN OR SHINE** (Press Canopy available)
10:00 am — Press Conference; 10:30 am — Rally

VISUALS:    Nurses and supporters chanting with banners and picket signs; large replica of hospital complaint form…this time filled out as a complaint against CDPH, not a hospital

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Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN represents 8,500 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals at 23 hospitals in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety.

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