HCA Healthcare staff on Thursday mentioned they sent a letter directly to the corporate’s traders about lack of private protecting gear and office security considerations through the coronavirus pandemic, asking them to fulfill with staff and to hunt solutions from the large hospital chain.
Workers mentioned the Nashville-based system’s “PPE protocols could also be systemically placing lives in danger.”
“Although we as staff are on the core of the corporate’s means to operationalize their enterprise, we consider we aren’t valued by firm management,” staff wrote in a letter signed by six staff from completely different states. “Six months into the COVID-19 disaster, HCA remains to be not persistently offering life-saving PPE, and in some instances is as a substitute forcing caregivers to make the most of much less dependable masks or to danger cross-contamination by re-using single-use PPE for a number of shifts.”
HCA mentioned it believed the letter “was orchestrated by the SEIU as a part of their continued effort to assault hospitals throughout the nation” and was meant “to unfold misinformation in an try to realize publicity.”
“No exterior group takes the well being and security of our staff extra critically than we do, and since day one, our high precedence has been to guard them – to maintain them secure and hold them employed – to allow them to finest take care of our sufferers,” HCA mentioned. “Any suggestion in any other case ignores the intensive work, planning and coaching we’ve got executed to make sure the supply of top of the range care throughout this pandemic.”
The federal authorities estimates that 192,299 healthcare suppliers have examined constructive for COVID-19, 771 of whom have died, though that information is incomplete. Kaiser Well being Information and The Guardian have recorded at the least 1,336 U.S. healthcare staff who’ve died from COVID-19. Employees say at the least 4 of these deaths included HCA staff.
“The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented and sadly, this virus has affected the lives of so many the world over, together with our personal colleagues and their households. The various medical professionals and help groups that make up our group throughout the nation have devoted their lives to therapeutic the sick, and we grieve with the households who’ve misplaced family members,” HCA mentioned.
Within the letter and in a current lawsuit, staff mentioned the corporate has requested them to work with out essential PPE and with COVID-19 signs, with out enough contact tracing, to forgo sanitization and to disregard office security measures. They spotlight that the corporate is lowering provide prices whereas rising earnings.
HCA mentioned it screens and exams staff, requires common masking, performs contact tracing and has a PPE steward at every hospital to make sure correct use and match of kit. The corporate additionally mentioned it supplied pandemic and quarantine pay packages, resorts for staff treating COVID-19 sufferers and counseling companies for nurses.
HCA reported $668 million in web revenue through the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, a 9% improve in earnings year-over-year, in response to firm monetary filings. That adopted 38% year-over-year beneficial properties through the second quarter of 2020.
HCA earlier this month introduced it will return all of its $1.6 million in federal COVID-19 reduction grants, in addition to $four.four billion in Medicare accelerated funds.
Within the second quarter, staff famous, HCA decreased its spending on provides by $370 million, or 17%, year-over-year.
“We’re involved that the second quarter was so worthwhile partly as a result of the corporate will not be spending as a lot on PPE because it may,” staff mentioned. “We fear that HCA’s short-term earnings could also be coming on the expense of important frontline caregivers like ourselves and the well being and security of our sufferers, households and communities.”
Provide spending additionally declined within the third quarter, falling $126 million, or 2%, in comparison with the prior yr, in response to the corporate’s most up-to-date monetary submitting.
“As the most important well being system within the U.S., HCA’s decisions play an vital position in our nation’s crucial public well being wants at the moment, and traders ought to be sure that HCA takes essential steps to guard important frontline caregivers, sufferers, communities and traders,” staff wrote.
HCA didn’t immediately deal with provide prices however did say the corporate has “devoted important sources to guard our colleagues all through the pandemic.”
HCA operates 187 hospitals and about 2,000 surgical procedure facilities, freestanding emergency rooms, pressing care facilities and doctor clinics in 21 states and the UK and employes 280,000 staff.