Antelope Valley Hospital CEO target of no-confidence petition

A no-confidence petition on the performance of Antelope Valley Hospital CEO Edward Mirzabegian is being circulated by nurses at the Lancaster, Calif.-based facility, according to union and hospital statements.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, which represents nearly 900 nurses at Antelope Valley Hospital, cites concerns about staffing and patient care in a Feb. 23 news release about the petition. The union also contends hospital administration was not prepared during the COVID-19 surge at the end of 2020 and has been unable to recruit and retain nurses.

"We warned administration in August that we were not ready for the surge and implored them to take immediate action for our community in anticipation of the inevitable surge in patients," Ruth Godde, a critical care unit registered nurse, said in the union news release. "Our concerns, unfortunately, fell on deaf ears."

The hospital disputed the union's allegations in a statement shared with Becker's Hospital Review, citing a professional practice committee where leadership meets with nursing staff about concerns and policies, as well as the hospital's COVID-19 testing efforts among staff. The hospital also said new nurses were hired during the pandemic, and traveling nurses were contracted, in addition to the construction of a 54-bed emergency field hospital, equipped with medical personnel.

"AVH stepped up and showed up for the community since the start of this pandemic, starting with the relief efforts of a 400+ bed field hospital on Lancaster's fairgrounds," the hospital said. "Due to excellent leadership, employees were supplied with appropriate [personal protective equipment], ensured we had the increased need for oxygen; departments were properly staffed, including extra internists and hospitalists, and overall fared better in comparison to other facilities during this time."

Additionally, the hospital backed Mr. Mirzabegian's leadership abilities and called the union's petition "farfetched."

Nurses plan to deliver the petition Feb. 24 during the Antelope Valley Healthcare District board of directors' meeting, according to the union.

Antelope Valley Hospital and California Nurses Association/National Nurses United have been in contract negotiations since November 2020. 


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