DATE: August 20, 2020
TO: All Kaleida Members of CWA Local 1168 at BGMC Campus
FROM: Cori Gambini, President; Robert Andruszko, Executive Vice President; & Mary Janice Keller, Vice President of CWA Local 1168
RE: Meeting with Dianne Charsha, CNO/COO & Chris Lane, President of BGMC
On August 12th, CWA leadership met with Dianne Charsha and Chris Lane in order to bring forward the dire staffing concerns at BGMC. The meeting was attended by Debbie Hayes, CWA District 1 Area Director; Cori Gambini, President; Robert Andruszko, Executive Vice President; and Mary Janice Keller, Vice President of CWA Local 1168. Debbie kicked the meeting off with her portrayal of the staff being exhausted, stressed and disrespected. She reiterated that we had made strides in staffing language in the 2016 contract and then again in the 2019 contract and that there was a real concern that we were sliding backwards. Dianne Charsha gave the following update:
“I learned that we slowed down on hiring in the fall of 2019. COVID-19 hit and volumes dropped. From October to March there were NO hires in any job title. It is known that BGMC loses 10-12 RNS per month. I also have a concern about how many “churns” it takes to get an internal position filled. We are aware that in June and July we were really down staff. As far as new hires they are as follows:
- 28 RN hires in June, 2 of which did not pass their boards;
- 17 RN hires in July; and
- 20 RN hires in August so far.
The KOL had 102 open positions and we are now down to 79. We also added 15 ICU/IMCU RN Generalists. (These positions are new grads hired to take care of the more “vanilla” ICU patients) and we also added 12 Interventional float RN positions. There was also an addition of 9 PCAs. We are also attempting to recruit agency RNs until the orients are up and running.
There are also 7 open job postings for General X-Ray where we know they have been down 3.87 FTEs through the summer. We are encouraging managers to post openings and get new hires in.
Respiratory therapy has also been working very hard and the overall acuity rate at BGMC is the highest it’s ever been. We think a contributing factor is that people stayed away from the hospital and now they are coming to the hospital and their medical problems are more severe”.
The Union discussed the nurse patient ratio and that we thought 1:5 was the max. It seems that Dianne is working with a 1:6 ratio. We have repeatedly stated that 6 is too high and the ratio should never go past 5. We reiterated that grids were changed, for the worse and requested that Dianne review them and make changes to improve staffing. As the staff are all putting it…We went from Heroes to Zeros!! Now we just don’t matter anymore.
We had a brief back and forth about offering bonus pay. Management has categorically refused to offer bonus anywhere! The article in the contract leaves it up to management’s discretion whether bonus will be offered but there are parameters that quantify when bonus can be utilized. They simply refuse!
Dianne made a decision to restructure how the work is done in this department. All Patient Care Coordinators and Utilization Review RNs are being cross trained to do both jobs (although assigned to one unit). This has caused great upheaval and staff are now leaving in droves. We informed them that if they have a concern for length of stay, they might want to check on this department and see what is actually transpiring. Everyone is willing to do the work as long as the workload is reasonable. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to complete your work while learning a new job at the same time.
Dianne has been laying out plans to cross train all of the PACU/ASU staff to meet critical care competencies. The goal being to be able to bring critical intubated patients into PACU. We have repeatedly stated that we do not see how anyone can maintain a competency if they don’t care for critical patients with any frequency. At this point, there is a pending Oversight Committee presentation on the topic. We will share more information as we have it.
Broader Picture As it stands right now, we have continued to be diametrically opposed in our views on staffing. We must strive to connect the political landscape in our State and Country to our everyday plight within the walls of the hospital. Please keep an eye out for information on a Statewide Week of Action….. Webinar and Informational Picket. We will need ALL staff members to show up and support each other. Staffing is not just a Kaleida Health issue. It is a statewide and nationwide problem. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and recommit to getting to the bottom of the staffing issue once and for all.