News & Events

Northeast Hospital Corporation MNA Nurses to Hold Informational Picket June 2 Outside Beverly Hospital Urging Executives to Provide Improved Staffing for Safe Patient Care

05.28.2021

Nurses and other NEHC staff have been rising to the occasion of the Pandemic; They ask executives to do the same amidst declining conditions.

BEVERLY, Mass. – Registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association at Northeast Hospital Corporation (NEHC) will hold an informational picket on Wednesday, June 2 outside Beverly Hospital to call attention to corporate executives the need to improve safe patient care conditions through improved staffing and by addressing the significant nurse turnover problem and to make NEHC hospitals the best they can be.

NEHC RN Informational Picket Details

Date: Wednesday, June 2       

Time: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.          

Location: Near Beverly Hospital at Sohier Rd. and Herrick St. and then march toward the hospital

Details: Attendees will include nurses, co-workers, friends, family, and community supporters.

Why: A call for executives to do all that is necessary to staff the hospital and provide support for staff.

What:  This is an informational picket.  No strike is occurring.

“We are asking for the public’s support so we can provide the best care for the community,” said Sue Hall, RN, and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Northeast Hospital Corporation. “NEHC executives must listen to nurses and address our hospital’s inadequate staffing and high levels of turnover in a way that has a lasting, positive impact on patient care conditions.”

“Our staffing crisis is so much more than just needing to hire more nurses and ‘fill holes,’ said Carol Medico, RN, and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Northeast Hospital Corporation. “We need our administration to stop overworking and exhausting our nurses, to properly resolve our retention and recruitment problems. We and our patients deserve safely staffed units and safe working conditions.”

Key Issues

Nurses and all caregivers at NEHC have been rising to the occasion under increasingly difficult circumstances during the pandemic. Nurses are asking hospital executives to do the same by acknowledging and fixing chronic understaffing. There were 171 out of 781 NEHC nurses who left the hospitals (Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, and the Danvers Surgery Center) between Jan. 14, 2020 and April 30, 2021 or 22%, according to hospital provided data.

An egregious example of the impact happened on Mothers’ Day, during National Nurses Week. NEHC mandated three nurses in three different units to stay beyond their night shifts into the day shift. They worked from 11 p.m. until 2:30 p.m., 15.5 total hours each. One nurse said simply, “That’s just abuse; that is like kidnapping, and it is dangerous.”

The Department of Public Health recorded 20 instances of mandatory nurse overtime at NECH from October 2020 through March 2021. Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a ban on mandatory overtime for Massachusetts nurses in August 2012[1]. The law states, "Mandatory overtime shall not be used as a practice for providing appropriate staffing for the level of patient care required."

Nurses Ask for Real Solutions

Our solutions for retention and recruitment include these:

  • Commit to improve staffing so nurses come here and don’t leave.
  • Provide the support staff needed to provide care:  Both people and resources.
  • Improve orientation and preceptor assignments.
  • Improve work/life balance by improving the ability to increase/decrease hours, change shifts, convert to per diem, etc. instead of RNs having only the option to resign.
  • Competitive wages so other hospitals aren’t pulling staff away.  All the hospitals in the region are paying more.

NEHC and Owner Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH) Can Afford to Do Better

The state’s Centers for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) released updated financial measures for NEHC for fiscal year 2020:  NEHC reported $53.5 million in profit or a 12.8% margin, compared to a statewide average 3.1% margin[2].  This equals a profit margin of 413% the Mass. hospital average for the period. NEHC is owned by Beth Israel Lahey Health, which posted a profit of $195.5 million during the same period, using $97.1 million in its operating revenue from COVID-19 relief funds[3]. For CHIA’s most recently published fiscal quarter (October through December 2020), NEHC reports $18.8 million in profits with a total margin of 16.3% -- far above the state average[4]

BI Lahey Promised the Commonwealth That They Would Do Better

In late 2018, the Mass. Attorney General[5] approved the creation of the merged BI Lahey Health system.  The Commonwealth had initially blocked the giant merger out of concern for how it would create a highly profitable corporation (which did come to be) that could control markets, resulting in higher healthcare costs.  In 2018 the AG approved the merger[6], but conditioned approval on binding assurances from the new BILH of how they would use their newfound corporate consolidation to improve care in communities, including by maintaining services to the communities they serve, continuing to serve low-income residents by encouraging patients on Mass. Health to seek care at BI Lahey and other means, and making significant investments in community-based healthcare providers and underserved populations.

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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 healthcare issues affecting nurses and the public.

 



[1] https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVI/Chapter111/Section226

[3] Same as above.

[4] https://www.chiamass.gov/assets/Uploads/mass-hospital-financials/data-through-12-31-2020/Data-Through-December-31-2020-Report.pdf

[5] Press Release by the Attorney General of Massachusetts: 

https://www.mass.gov/news/ag-healey-reaches-settlement-with-beth-israel-lahey-health-over-proposed-merger

[6] The court order approving the agreement with the AG and the list of assurances from BI Lahey: 

https://www.mass.gov/doc/bilh-aod/download

 

FPO