May 2020 Letter from Union to all employers

The letter below was sent to all employers* of SEIU Local 121RN members on May 11, 2020:

SEIU 121RN requests the following information on safety, health, current working conditions, and hospital status. 

 We reiterate the following information (with the exception of #7) request on PPE and safety sent previously, including on March 24, 2020:

  1. Has the hospital initiated HICS with the county EMS? If so, please provide information on the date of filing and by whom.
  2. Copies of the hospital specific HICS and Incident Action Plan forms for COVID-19. Please continue to send the union any updates or changes that have been made to the HICS plan since initiation. Please include the HICS Chain of Command.
  3. Information on whether there is currently a shortage of PPE in the hospital, including which PPE, and the extent of the shortage (N95 masks, PAPR hoods and machines, gowns, gloves, splash/face guards, eye protection, foot coverage-low and high styles; and shortages in any specific sizes);
  4. How many days the hospital estimates the current supply of PPE, and specifically N95 masks, will last;
  5. The hospital’s latest plan (or updated guidelines) for distributing PPE to workers;
  6. The hospital’s plan for rationing PPE or addressing the problem in the event the hospital runs out or there are not enough to meet safety guidelines, including plans by department if applicable;
  7. Information on any programs, plans, or intention to recycle/refurbish/sterilize any PPE; for any such, please specify which processes used (including timing), which chemicals used, vendor name, and whether taking place in house or outside the facility.
  8. Information on any PPE stockpile or resources the company may have, whether the hospital has requested additional PPE from this supply, and the supply the hospital expects to receive;
  9. A copy of any and all requests for PPE that the hospital or company on the hospital’s behalf have made to the County Department of Public Health or any other County entity, and a copy of any responses;
  10. A copy of any and all requests for PPE that the hospital or the company on the hospital’s behalf have made to the California Department of Public Health or any other State entity, and a copy of any and all responses;
  11. A copy of any and all requests for PPE that the hospital or the company on the hospital’s behalf have made to the any Federal entity or official, the status of the requests, and a copy of any and all responses;

Please provide the following information on safety, health risks, financial condition/outlook, and working conditions: 

  1. A copy of all other policies related to COVID-19 treatment and/or current operations, which RNs are expected to follow. Please include current versions of any policies previously provided to the union, as updated.
  2. Is the hospital currently treating cases of COVID-19?
    • How many COVID-19 patients (either positive test or presumptive) are currently in the facility?
    • Which departments, units, or areas are currently dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients?
      1. What is the capacity of each?
      2. Are COVID-19 cases treated in any other units or areas, and if so which?
      3. How many negative pressure rooms are available and what steps have been taken to ensure that negative-pressure airborne infection isolation rooms are available and functioning correctly and are appropriately monitored for airflow and exhaust handling?
    • Which departments, units, or areas would COVID-19 cases should the current ones reach capacity?
  1. Is the hospital operating a triage program to screen for COVID-19 cases? If so, please provide description and relevant details.
  2. Are all RNs expected to be ready and able to treat COVID-19 cases? If not, which are and are not?
    • What training has been provided for RNs who do not typically work in critical care?
    • Have there been any changes in policy or procedures guiding the floating of RNs?
    • Are there any groups operating as float pools or equivalent? If so, please provide all relevant details.
  3. Has the hospital applied for any program flexibilities from CDPH or other state agencies so far in 2020? If so, please provide copies of application and response.
  4. What is the facility’s contingency plans if the demand for PPE or other supplies exceeds supply? What is the current supply level?
    • In what situations are RNs expected to use N95 respirators or PAPRs?
    • What is the hospital’s policy on reusing N95 respirators? Does the hospital have a sterilization program? If so, please provide documentation.
    • Are RNs permitted to use masks or other PPE they have obtained from sources other than the hospital? In what situations?
    • About how many days of N95 respirators does the hospital have (not including reuse)?
  5. What are the hospital’s policies & procedures for laboratory submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing? Please provide.
    • Are tests currently run in the hospital or another company facility? If so, please provide details. If not, are there plans to do so in the future?
    • Is the hospital operating as a point of collection for COVID-19 tests?
    • What coordination if any has taken place with nearby testing facilities or those managing such tests?
    • Please provide copies of all materials and communications with employees about testing.
  6. What are the hospital’s current policies on COVID-19 testing for RNs?
  7. What are the hospital’s current policies on quarantine for RNs?
  8. What are the hospital’s current policies on notifying employees about exposure or possible exposure?
    • What are the policies and procedures for monitoring and managing employees with potential for exposure to COVID-19?
    • What are the policies about notifying employees of possible exposure due to the status of other employees?
    • What are the policies about notifying employees in the case of a death of an employee?
  9. Is the hospital reporting all positive and presumed COVID-19 cases, as well as deaths, to CDPH? To County Public Health? In what timeline?
  10. Is the hospital offering any paid time off for pandemic-related reasons? (e.g., quarantine or extra sick pay or time for care of dependents) Please provide details of policies if so.
  11. Is the hospital providing any other support programs for employees or their families? Please provide details.
  12. Is the hospital offering hazard pay or any pandemic-related pay? Please provide details.
  13. Is the hospital allowing remote work for any bargaining unit members?
  14. Has there been any change in schedules for bargaining unit members due to the pandemic? Have hours or shifts been cut? If so, please provide details, including any pandemic-related scheduling plans and policies.
  15. We are requesting a list showing the following payroll information, for each member, for each month of 2020:
    • Base wage
    • Whether full time, part time, or per diem
    • Typical scheduled hours per week (pre-pandemic)
    • Hours worked at straight pay
    • Hours worked at 1.5x OT
    • Hours worked at 2.0x OT
    • Times flexed
    • Hours flexed (if tracked)
    • Call-off pay and times paid out
    • On call hours
    • Any hazard/crisis pay or equivalent (reflecting pandemic)
  16. We are requesting an update on the hospital’s current budget status and outlook, including:
    • Operating and total revenue by month for 2020
    • Operating and total expenses by month for 2020
    • Budget outlook for the next few months
    • Revenues received to date from Federal relief packages in response to pandemic (e.g., CARES Act)
    • Revenues expected from Federal relief packages
    • Revenues expected from Medi-Cal and any state sources in response to pandemic
  17. We are requesting any plans the hospital has implemented or plans to implement to address any budget gaps or potential gaps.

We are requesting this information as soon as each piece becomes available, and in digital format (interoperable with excel where appropriate for payroll and budget information).

We ask that you send responses to SEIU 121RN’s Research Analyst, Dan Braun, at braund@seiu121rn.org. You may address any questions to him at that e-mail address or on his cell phone at 213-268-1175.

It would be most appreciated if you would respond to all parts of the request by May 15, 2020, at the latest. If any portion of the requested information cannot be delivered by that date, we ask that you provide us a reason and a fulfillment timeline.

Sincerely,
Rosanna Mendez
Executive Director, SEIU Local 121RN

*A modified version was sent to Providence hospitals, which had already supplied much of this information. See the Providence version of our letter here.

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