Montefiore New Rochelle transfers patients ahead of strike

Montefiore New Rochelle (N.Y.) Hospital moved at least nine hospitalized patients to other facilities within New York City-based Montefiore Health System due to a two-day nursing strike that began Dec. 1, the hospital confirmed to Becker's.

A spokesperson said affected patients were not critically ill, and it is likely that any patient transferred to another health system facility will be discharged from that facility. Montefiore New Rochelle's emergency room remains open during the strike.

Nurses at the hospital are striking for more pandemic resources and a contract that guarantees safe working conditions, according to the union that represents them. Members of the New York State Nurses Association delivered a 10-day notice to strike to hospital management Nov. 19, and the union expects about 200 nurses to strike.

"We were hoping to avoid a … strike on Dec. 1 and 2, but it's clear that Montefiore does not want us to have a voice in patient safety," Kathy Santioemma, RN, NYSNA leader at Montefiore New Rochelle, said in a news release. "After so many bargaining sessions, their position on safe staffing still has not changed — they're not willing to spend a dime to ensure we have enough nurses to safely care for our community."

The union also took issue with the hospital's approach to prepare for the strike, calling it irresponsible.

Marcos Crespo, senior vice president of community affairs for Montefiore Medicine, said in a statement Nov. 30 that the hospital is taking steps to protect the community due to the strike. He said the hospital will remain open but has contingency plans, including relocating patients to ensure their safety.

In his statement, Mr. Crespo also touted the hospital's offer during negotiations, which he said "would seem like a good deal, even in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic when hospitals and individuals are struggling financially."

"NYSNA is striking because they want the power to dictate staffing assignments and hand out plum positions to their friends, while Montefiore believes the decisions on how to treat patients and make these assignments rests not with any one group alone, but with the entire team caring for the patient," said Mr. Crespo.

The strike is slated to end at 7 p.m. Dec. 2. 


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