DC nurses call for resignation or ousting of United Medical Center top leaders

The District of Columbia Nurses Association is coming out against top leaders at Washington, D.C.-based United Medical Center, according to a Washington Business Journal report.

The nurses union voted "no confidence" in UMC leadership last week, particularly pointing to medical center CEO Luis Hernandez, an employee of consulting firm Veritas of Washington, which is contracted to manage UMC operations; and Maribel Torres, MSM, RN-BC, UMC executive vice president of patient care service and CNO, according to the report. The union is also calling for the resignation or ousting of Ms. Torres and Mr. Hernandez.

Union members contend the two top officials have not addressed nurses' concerns over what they deem unsafe staffing, inadequate equipment and inadequate nurse training, Wala Blegay, staff attorney for the District of Columbia Nurses Association, told the Washington Business Journal via statement. "Overall, the UMC leadership under Mr. Hernandez and Ms. Torres has consistently ignored the safety concerns of the nurses," Ms. Blegay added.

The nurses union vote of "no confidence" comes as UMC struggles financially. UMC has also had quality and safety issues come up. District regulators imposed a 90-day obstetrics ward shutdown at the medical center in August. At the time, UMC cited three separate cases involving deficiencies in screening, clinical assessment and delivery protocols as reasoning behind the district's decision.

The union said nurses were not notified of previous warnings from the District Health Department regarding the obstetrics unit, and claim UMC did not implement changes to safety practices as a result of the warnings, according to the report. It is unclear whether the service will reopen.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to UMC for comment and will post additional details as they become available.


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