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Retired Nurse Left With Many Questions

By Staff | Oct 26, 2017

Dear Editor:

As a retired staff member from Palo Alto County Hospital, I feel such a sadness at the recent terminations that has disrupted so many lives. It also leaves me with many questions. 1-From changes in reimbursement and insurance coverages, attending physicians and health care providers, and our general population changes, there must have been many signs that projections of increased income was not going to happen. I know I am not privy to all the information, but I ask the Board and Administration why measures were not taken 1, 2, or 3 years ago to minimize the losses? It seems that there were many opportunities to curb spending in the operational budget. 2-I was not present the days that the terminations occurred, but I have heard many accounts of the affected staff members told not to collect their coat, not to shut down their computer, not to complete a shift-and then escorted to their vehicle. It seems that they were treated as if they had misappropriated funds or stolen drugs or violated patient care. They were not treated as valued members of the facility that had worked hard to provide the best patient care or to do their job to the best of their ability, but were unfortunate in that they were the ones chosen to lose their job. Is this a corporate text book of how to fire an employee? Again, I ask administration and the Board-Is that how a person should be ethically treated? 3-In the newspaper article of October 17th, it was reported that PACHS employs 263 staff members following the reduction in positions. That makes the reduction of 16 full time employees seem to be less significant that it is. I ask-How many of the 263 are very part time staff members? How many are EMTs who are so vital for our emergency care but do not depend on a salary from the hospital for their livelihood? How many are prn staff members (only as needed, of which I am one) that may work 2-6 or so days a month? I suspect that if you counted the core staff members for the Palo Alto County Health System, you would come up with quite a few less, which makes the 19 staff members a much bigger cut than was presented.

Melanie Flynn, R.N.