California lawmakers blast HCA-owned hospital, allege dangerous staffing levels, hostile management

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Three California lawmakers slammed San Jose, Calif.-based Good Samaritan Hospital and its parent company Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare in a letter last week decrying staffing concerns and hostile management practices, according to NBC Bay Area. 

The letter was addressed to Good Samaritan Hospital COO Gary Purushotham and HCA Healthcare CEO Samuel Hazen.

The letter, signed by state Sen. Dave Cortese, Assemblyman Ash Kalra and Assemblyman Alex Lee, accuses Good Samaritan of having dangerous staffing levels despite its parent company reporting a $3.7 billion profit last year.

"These unsafe management practices appear to be focused on staffing to meet the hospital's financial goals rather than serve patients’ needs," the letter reads, according to NBC Bay Area.

During the pandemic, nurses at Good Samaritan have staged walkouts and protests over what they call unsafe staffing levels at the hospital. 

"Safe staffing has been a persistent problem throughout the pandemic at Good Samaritan Hospital," the letter reads. "The intensive care unit, where the most severely ill patients are placed, has been frequently out of compliance with limits set by state law on the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse due to management's failure to properly staff."

The lawmakers also took aim at what they call "hostile management practices" in the labor and delivery, antepartum and neonatal intensive care units. 

Mr. Cortese said that the letter was sent after months of discussions with the hospital and HCA.

Mr. Cortese also criticized HCA's recent decision to close the maternity ward at its Regional Medical Center in San Jose.

"When they can't deliver essential services like maternity services at a major hospital like Regional, you have to wonder what’s going on with their management," Mr. Cortese told NBC Bay Area.

"We have offered to meet with the legislators to discuss these issues and reiterate our commitment to serving our community," HCA spokesperson Janine De la Vega told NBC Bay Area. "Caring for our San Jose community is what drives us every day and is at the heart and soul of our mission: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life."

Ms. de La Vega told NBC Bay Area that the company self-reported some staffing issues this spring, but she said they have been corrected.

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