Massachusetts nurses allege unsafe conditions at Tenet hospital

Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., are alleging unsafe working conditions as the hospital's owner, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, furloughs staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tenet started furloughing hospital staff in April, citing a decline in elective surgeries and other nonemergent procedures due to the pandemic. Since then, nurses have reported lack of staff and resources, leading to what they say are dangerous delays in care, and unsafe staffing that jeopardizes patient care, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

"All of these changes increase the workload of nurses and other staff; and limit the time nurses have with patients who require careful monitoring and timely responses to changes in their condition to ensure their safety," the MNA said. 

A Saint Vincent Hospital spokesperson expressed disappointment about the union's claims.  

In a statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review, the spokesperson said the MNA has made "inaccurate and misleading statements in order to raise their own profile."

"Our culture at Saint Vincent Hospital is based on safety, integrity and compassionate care — and we have built every COVID-19 protocol consistent with those values," the statement reads. "Any suggestions to the contrary are false, and we, along with our community and many SVH nurses, struggle to understand how — in the middle of a public health emergency — the MNA could be so focused on their own agenda with a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of our Worcester families. Every action we have taken, together with the support of many of our nurses, is helping to bring us all through this crisis."

The Massachusetts Nurses Association represents 23,000 members throughout the state, including nurses at Saint Vincent.


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