FALMOUTH, Mass. – Registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association at Falmouth Hospital will hold an informational picket on May 26 to call attention to Cape Cod Healthcare executives refusing to negotiate a new contract that creates safer patient care conditions.
Informational Picket Details
Date: Wednesday, May 26
Time: 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: Outside Falmouth Hospital, 100 Ter Heun Dr., Falmouth, MA
Details: Attendees will don masks and maintain responsible social distances. Picket speakers will include nurses, elected official and community supporters.
“Falmouth Hospital nurses have put our own health and the safety of our families at risk during the pandemic to care for our patients. Cape Cod Healthcare executives are continuing to deny our contract proposals which would greatly improve safe staffing and patient care,” said Lauren Seitz, RN, and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Falmouth Hospital. “Cape Cod Healthcare agreeing to a fair contract and thus providing us the support we need would mean we would be able to more safely care for our patients and our community.”
A contract agreement is hinging on the nurses’ proposal for charge nurse without an assignment. This would contribute significantly to making patient care conditions safer at both Cape Cod and Falmouth hospitals by ensuring charge nurses can coordinate the overall needs of patients, nurses, and the flow on each individual floor/unit. A charge nurse should also be available to assist less experienced nurses with more complex cases, while also picking up patient assignments when staff become overburdened.
The nurses’ latest version of their safe staffing proposal gave the hospital until the signing of the next contract (at least four years) to solidify language around a charge nurse without an assignment. This was a significant compromise because staffing conditions are critical right now, but nurses are making every effort to reach an agreement. CCH executives rejected this compromise.
Cape Cod Hospital Nurses Held Picket for Safe Staffing on May 19
Dozens of Cape Cod Hospital nurses joined with community members, elected officials, and union supporters on May 19 for their informational picket.
“Cape Cod Healthcare executives call us heroes in public and pass out candy as a thank you but are actually disrespecting the care nurses provide by not agreeing to basic patient safety improvements we are seeking as part of a fair contract,” said Michelle Brum, RN, and member of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Cape Cod Hospital. “We are calling attention to unsafe conditions inside our hospital that are impacting patients and nurses, and which must be addressed in a lasting way.”
Brum, of Mashpee, told the Cape Cod Times, "Nurses are overwhelmed. The patient assignments are too burdensome to give the care patients deserve.”
Emergency room nurse Kristi Dyott told the newspaper that emergency department nurses have to care for up to five to seven patients at a time, and there is no accounting for cases when critically ill patients take up all of a nurse's time. "I've been in a room with a critical patient for four hours" while other ER nurses struggled to care for the rest of the patients, Dyott said.
Cape Cod and Falmouth Hospital Post Significant Profits
During fiscal year 2020, both Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital greatly exceeded the statewide hospital margin average of 3.1%. According to the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis, Cape Cod Hospital made $27.6 million in profit (4.7% margin) and received $152 million in COVID funding. Falmouth Hospital made $10.6 million in profit (6.1% margin) and received $41.3M in COVID funding.
During the three quarters ending on December 31, 2020, the hospital did even better financially. Cape Cod Hospital made $18.3 million in profit at an 11.2% margin and Falmouth Hospital made $10.2 million in profit at a 19.7% margin, according to CHIA.
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.