Nurses and other supporters held a rally Thursday morning at Ascension Health’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis to protest staffing cuts and working conditions at Ascension’s Genesys Regional Medical Center in Michigan.
Teamsters local 332 in Flint, Mich., represents 1,100 registered nurses who say that administrative changes made by Ascension compromise patient care for the sake of profit.
Nina Bugbee is a registered nurse and president of Teamsters local 332 in Flint Michigan.
“They are adding more patients to a nurse’s workload, while taking other support services of nurses and other licensed caregivers away from the bed sides and making it next to impossible for nurses to deliver safe patient care,” said Bugbee.
Steve LaResche, vice president of communications for Ascension Health, said it was inappropriate for the nurses to stage their rally at the headquarters in St. Louis because it’s not a party in negotiations. Rather, he said, Ascension’s model gives local health systems autonomy to decide what services to provide and staffing requirements.
“They’re separate corporations; they have local board of directors made up of local citizens,” said LaResche. “And the local people really determine the needs of the communities and the best way to operate their facilities. Patient safety and meeting the health needs of the community are really top priorities across our system, but the best way to do those things is at the local level.”
Nina Bugbee said the nurses and Teamsters local 332 vow to stage more rallies in St. Louis in the future until the issue is resolved.