Picket held on National Day of Prayer contrasts “faith-based” values of Trinity Health with its lack of support, protection for staff and its planned elimination of essential mental health beds
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association will join their co-workers and community supporters outside Mercy Medical Center for an informational picket during the May 7 National Day of Prayer calling on Trinity Health to uphold its faith-based mission to support staff and serve the healthcare needs of vulnerable populations.
Trinity and Mercy have a stated mission to “honor the sacredness and dignity of every person” and “stand with and serve those who are poor, especially those most vulnerable.” Yet Trinity has failed to properly protect staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, has not respected and supported staff during this challenging time, and has charged ahead with plans to close 74 child and adult psychiatric beds at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke.
“Trinity’s behavior is actually making it harder for staff to safely care for patients and support our families during this pandemic,” said Alex Wright, RN and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Mercy Medical Center. “They are not listening to nurses and healthcare workers on the front lines and are ignoring the concerns expressed by members of our community and elected officials.
Informational Picket Info
When: Thursday, May 7, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: On the sidewalk outside Mercy Medical Center at 271 Carew St. in Springfield
How: Nurses, healthcare workers and community supporters will don masks and maintain responsible social distances as they picket. Media are welcome to attend and follow similar social distancing guidelines.
Trinity has not consistently provided proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff, has not appropriately isolated COVID-19 positive patients and suspected COVID-19 patients, and has cancelled or laid off staff rather than provide fair redeployment and paid time off protocols.
These conditions came into stark view last month when the Boston Globe published an article about Mercy ICU nurse Lindsay Manning. Despite being six months pregnant and expressing concerns about her health and health of her unborn child if she were exposed to COVID-19, Trinity management would not guarantee Manning work separate from infected patients. Then Manning became symptomatic and tested positive.
In a letter dated November 19, 2019, Mercy Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Roose, told colleagues that “access to behavioral health services is important to ensuring health in our communities” and said “we know that mental health, substance use disorder and other behavioral health issues have a profound impact on patients we serve.”
And yet Trinity is continuing its closure plan, despite patients, families, staff, mental health advocates and elected officials telling the Department of Public Health during a hearing April 30 that the services are essential, that they had not been consulted prior to Trinity’s decision and that there other ways to preserve these critical beds.
Read more about Trinity’s failure to protect and support staff during the pandemic: https://www.massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/11656
Read more about the issues surrounding Trinity’s proposal to close behavioral health beds and services: https://www.massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/11693
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.