After COVID-19 infections, Kindred Hospital workers demand stronger protections

A union representing 275 workers at Kindred Hospital Westminster (Calif.) wants the hospital to do more to protect employees from COVID-19 after 16 employees of the 109-bed long-term acute care facility became infected, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Workers represented by National Union of Healthcare Workers said the facility lacks enough personal protective equipment and isn't adequately protecting the staff or patients from the coronavirus, according to the Times.

"Patients come in constantly with COVID, and we need to isolate and protect the people, staff members and the other patients that are in our facility from these COVID-19 patients," Josh Fernandez, a respiratory therapist at the hospital, told the newspaper. "We feel the management direction and leadership is very poor."

According to the Times, workers want stronger protections so Kindred Hospital Westminster does not end up in a similar place as Kindred Hospital Brea (Calif.), where more than 40 percent of patients and 27 workers tested positive for COVID-19 during an outbreak in early- to mid-June. A licensed vocational nurse died of the infection. The hospital no longer has any infected workers.

Regarding the union's charges, Kindred Hospital Westminster said it "believes their statements are misleading."

"The union has insinuated that there is a COVID-19 outbreak at Kindred Westminster; this is not true," a statement provided to Becker's said. 

The hospital also said it has offered "hero pay" to union members who are providing care to COVID-19 patients, but to date the union has rejected the offer.

"Kindred Westminster's top priority is to protect the health and safety of our patients and employees," the hospital said, adding that it offers care "in specially designated areas of the hospital, to those recovering from the COVID-19 virus, thereby helping to free up critically needed beds in our local ICUs."

Kindred Westminster offers testing to all employees, each staff member who enters a patient room receives an N95 mask, and  COVID-positive patients are isolated in appropriate rooms, the hospital said.


More articles on human resources:
Ascension hospital in Michigan accused of anti-union activity
Temple University Hospital workers seek hazard pay
Florida union ad blasts HCA's rationing of PPE despite federal relief funds

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