Nurses, Health Care Workers Picket Over Staffing Levels - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Nurses, Health Care Workers Picket Over Staffing Levels

Posted: Updated:

Funding health care has becoming a national issue with the implementation of President Obama's health care plan; but the timing is a coincidence.

Tuesday, dozens of nurses and health care workers picked up their signs and bullhorns and took their argument to the streets outside Deaconess Hospital in Spokane and Valley Hospital in Spokane Valley: "put patient care first and restore safe staffing levels."

Registered Nurse and Service Employees International Union member Angela Crigger was among them. She told KHQ the hospital ratio used to be one nurse to four or five patients, but now it's one to six. While that may not sound like a huge change, she says the effect is compounded because aides and support staff have been cut on top of that.

"Now some days we don't have an aid, we don't have secretaries to answer the phone, sometimes there are two nurses on the entire floor," Crigger explained.

She went to Olympia to testify before the Health Care and Wellness committee a few months ago and also says hospital officials are violating Washington law (RCW 70.41.420) by not going through the safe-staffing committee when making ratio adjustments.

Also at Tuesday's picket was Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart. He told KHQ he recently met with a few doctors when one told him, "I hate sending my patients to Valley Hospital because of all the cuts they've had."

"That's what you have when you have a for-profit system, you continually cut back in order to make profits, but patients suffer when that happens, when we cut nurses on the front lines," Stuckart added.

Hospital administrators provided this written statement in response to the picketing:

"Deaconess Hospital is operating as usual today and our top priority is the care and safety of our patients, employees and visitors. All inpatient, outpatient and emergency services are available and all surgeries and diagnostic procedures are continuing as scheduled."

The two sides are scheduled to come together again tomorrow for collective bargaining.

 

 

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Father of Rebecca West speaks about potential release of Michael Tarbert: 'It's been a living hell'

    Father of Rebecca West speaks about potential release of Michael Tarbert: 'It's been a living hell'

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:32:40 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Michael West cannot believe that the man suspected of killing his daughter Rebecca may once again walk the streets of Spokane.“It's very unacceptable to me,” West told KHQ. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Michael West cannot believe that the man suspected of killing his daughter Rebecca may once again walk the streets of Spokane.“It's very unacceptable to me,” West told KHQ. “A 55-year-old man is able to go home to his family, and my daughter can't come home to her mother. I'm very surprised.” West says his daughter's death destroyed his family. More >>
  • Wheat farmers taking a double hit as prices drop and weather takes its toll

    Wheat farmers taking a double hit as prices drop and weather takes its toll

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:29 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:29:24 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Experts with the Washington Grain Commission say wheat production is at its lowest since 2008. Glen Squires with the Washington Grain Commission says the current average price per bushel of wheat is around $6.20 down from last year's price at $7.53. Dry conditions in Eastern Washington is also taking its toll on wheat farmers. More >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Experts with the Washington Grain Commission say wheat production is at its lowest since 2008. Glen Squires with the Washington Grain Commission says the current average price per bushel of wheat is around $6.20 down from last year's price at $7.53. Dry conditions in Eastern Washington is also taking its toll on wheat farmers. More >>
  • CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Lightning strike nearly hits Hayden woman

    CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Lightning strike nearly hits Hayden woman

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:14:57 GMT
    HAYDEN, Idaho- A Hayden woman says her mother is extremely lucky to be alive after a bolt of lightning struck a foot away from her. It happened Tuesday evening when a storm system rolled through, bringing lightning, thunder, rain and hail.More >>
    HAYDEN, Idaho- A Hayden woman says her mother is extremely lucky to be alive after a bolt of lightning struck a foot away from her. It happened Tuesday evening when a storm system rolled through, bringing lightning, thunder, rain and hail.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.