Wednesday, July 03, 2013

How's this for patient rights? Affinity Medical Center manager: file a safety complaint, and I'll plaster it to your head!

At my June 19, 2013 post "Affinity RNs Call for Halt to Flawed Electronic Medical Records System Scheduled to Go Live Friday" ( I noted what appeared to be an imperial hospital leadership recklessly and negligently ignoring their own nurses' concerns about safety of a new EHR system implementation.

Now there's this at

"Judge orders Affinity to bargain with union" (
A judge ruled Affinity Medical Center violated federal labor laws and ordered the hospital to bargain with the registered nurses’ union and reinstate a nurse fired for union activity.

Affinity says it will appeal the decision.

National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan issued a 36-page ruling Monday based on a hearings held April 29 through May 5 in Cleveland.

The National Nurses Organizing Committee-Ohio, an affiliate of National Nurses United, filed several labor complaints against Affinity and its parent company, Community Health Systems. The complaints cited the hospital’s refusal to bargain with the union, which was certified last year.

... The judge ordered the hospital to reinstate Ann Wayt, an orthopedic nurse for 23 years, with back pay and restitution of benefit or pension losses, and withdraw efforts to have Wayt’s nursing license pulled by the Ohio State Board of Nursing. Wayt was fired in September and never had been disciplined before that month.

“I was confident that the truth would come out,” Wayt said in a statement. “The judge has spoken for me. I want to thank the community, the nurses at Affinity, and the nurses across the country for their support.”

The judge also ordered the hospital to stop firing, disciplining or otherwise discriminating against other registered nurses.

Mentioned in the article is this:

The judge also ruled that the hospital must end threats and other acts of retaliation against nurses who submit objection forms to the employer documenting assignments they believe are unsafe. The hospital also must stop denying access to the hospital of union representatives ... Two weeks ago, nurses filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB after requesting that the hospital delay a launch of the new electronic health record system, citing inadequate training and short staffing.

The nurses began to file objection forms related to the EHR.

What really caught my eye was this:

... In his ruling, the judge found one Affinity manager violated labor laws by threatening to plaster the objection forms on the forehead of any employee who submitted one. That same manager also began scrutinizing patient charts more closely, stated how much she would enjoy disciplining a prominent union supporter and retaliated against employees by reducing the number of nurses in the intensive-care unit [to make others work harder, patient safety be damned, apparently - ed.], according to the ruling.

I dislike stating the obvious, but this manager, a clear bully, is a danger to patient safety and clinician esprit de corps, and needs - at best - sensitivity training, ethics education and perhaps a psychiatric exam.

-- SS


Anonymous said...

Thugs. The administration of such hospitals are using the doctors and nurses as conscripted guinea pigs for their ideas as to how not kill patients with these unregulated devices. They curry $$$$$$$ favor with the vendor, sometimes as provate kickbacks. Corruption is widespread. US lawmakers have been co-opted by the vendors.

Afraid said...

The section where the manager describes harassment of anyone objecting is classic. Frankly the level of pressure is much worse when the upper management does it. This is my biggest cause for concern.

People with conscience can not serve in such an environment, either they leave or they end up jaded and silent. In such an environment, things can only get worse until collapse.

Steve Lucas said...

It may be important to remember that this is the same community where HCA purchased a Catholic charities hospital, ran it into the ground, forcing the repurchase and then Aultman Hospital, sensing an opportunity used its captive insurance company to engage in unfair business practices.

All of this was reported on HCR here:

and here:

Interestingly Aultman just promoted a person to the CEO position. A 43 year old who has only worked at that facility and who was educated locally. This certainly makes it easy to maintain a certain corporate culture.

Compare this to the new Mercy CEO who is in his late 50’s and has worked in a number of hospitals around the country bringing a variety of experiences to his position.

It becomes very easy to distinguish between a patient centered hospital and on one focused on profit.

Steve Lucas

Anonymous said...

Did they halt the deployment or deinstall the toxic care governing devices that were purchased from Cerner?

For the life of me, I can not figure out why a hospital would deploy a medical devicethat has not been vetted for safety as other medical devices are.