PALM SPRINGS – Marlen Wears passes out fliers to visitors at Desert Regional Medical Center. The fliers outline why Wears and others nurses with the California Nurses Association are upset. Tenet Healthcare System cut down on their sick leave and paid time off. Wears thinks that’ll lead to nurses working when they’re sick.
“Patients are ‘immunocompromised.’ A nurse comes in, she’s got a virus. Where’s that virus gonna go? To the patient and we don’t want that,” says Wears.
Tenet Healthcare System earned $178 million during the first quarter of the year. Nurses can’t understand why the company would make cuts when earnings are up. The company maintains the tough times forced their hand.
“What you hope is that the hospital has made the smart decision which we believe we have. We’ll remain open and viable and financially strong for the long term,” says Cliff Daniels, a representative for
Nurses aren’t just concerned about the benefit cuts during the flu season but also now during the summertime when fewer patients coming into the hospital. Nurses use their paid time off to keep their paychecks afloat.
“If you have a choice between getting a paycheck or staying home sick. You’re gonna want the paycheck, unfortunately,” says Wears.
Cuts effect nurses around the state, including the 600 registered nurses at Desert Regional Medical Center. New nurses are hit the hardest. They won’t start earning time off until two months on the job. Union representatives for non-nurses worry Tenet Healthcare will cut their time off next year. C.N.A. and other nurses unions have filed a class action grievance against the company. The hospital maintains the quality of service won’t be effected.