Nationwide Nurses United, a nurses’ union, has criticized hospital chain HCA Healthcare for its $3.75 billion in income in 2020, claiming that the corporate as a substitute ought to have invested that cash into public well being and COVID-19 security throughout the pandemic.
The nurses’ union known as the Nashville-based firm’s 7.1% year-over-year leap in income “a transparent demonstration of the monetary penalties of a 12 months of short-staffing and different cuts affecting affected person and employee security regardless of a once-in-a-century pandemic.”
HCA stated it’s happy with its response throughout the pandemic and known as the union exploitive.
“This labor union continues to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide nursing scarcity, that are each creating vital challenges for caregivers and hospitals throughout the nation, to advance its agenda of including extra dues-paying members,” HCA stated in a ready assertion.
NNU President Deborah Burger, who’s a registered nurse, stated it was “a pink flag” that HCA might make income whereas reporting a drop in admissions throughout the pandemic and stated that was indicative of “how HCA is working its affected person care companies.”
Burger additionally questioned HCA CEO Sam Hazen’s attribution of the corporate’s “strong value administration” to the 12 months’s income.
“Nurses have seen what ‘value administration’ means. All through 2020, HCA nurses have reported alarming shortages in staffing, the cancelling of shifts, a failure to fill vacancies. They’ve skilled frequent delays in provision of the optimum private protecting gear, re-use of single use and ineffective “decontaminated” masks and different insufficient different an infection management protocols,” Burger stated in a ready assertion. “And nurses have skilled and witnessed delays or failure to make sure on-time testing for sufferers and nurses and different security cuts which have put sufferers, nurses and different well being care staff in danger.”
Within the firm’s earnings announcement, Hazen stated, “Within the face of the best surge but of the COVID-19 pandemic, we completed the 12 months with sturdy monetary leads to the fourth quarter. These outcomes have been pushed, as soon as once more, by extremely acute inpatient volumes coupled with strong value administration.”
HCA stated its “focus stays on making certain the supply of high-quality care throughout this pandemic” and famous that the corporate elevated its PPE spending in 2020 by greater than $196 million in comparison with the earlier 12 months “to assist preserve our colleagues protected and to take care of our communities.”
HCA stated it has many security measures in place, together with common masking, screening and testing, contact tracing and notification and a PPE steward at every hospital to make sure the right use and becoming of kit. The corporate additionally stated it has used its in-house nurse staffing company to satisfy demand and has employed 20% extra registered nurses in January in comparison with final 12 months.
Burger additionally highlighted that HCA reported a ten.5% enhance in hospital affected person revenues, regardless of seeing a 4.7% decline in hospital admission and fewer emergency room visits.
In the course of the firm’s earnings name Tuesday, HCA Chief Monetary Officer Invoice Rutherford stated HCA has “been benefited by the acuity and the payer combine by way of our business quantity declined slower than our Medicare quantity.”
The nurses’ union known as on HCA to “reverse its plans to allocate $6 billion to buy its personal firm inventory and allocate these funds for enhancements in affected person and employee security measures and promotions of public well being applications all through HCA hospitals and communities.”
HCA on Monday introduced that it will resume its present share buy program and licensed a brand new share repurchase program of $6 billion.
“Nobody takes the well being and security of our caregivers extra critically than we do. Whereas this labor union continues to assault hospitals throughout the nation, our focus continues to be on defending our colleagues and caring for our communities,” HCA stated Wednesday.
This was not HCA’s first conflict with staff. In October, workers stated they despatched a letter to HCA traders about lack of PPE and office security issues throughout the pandemic, asking them to place stress on the hospital chain. Staff stated on the time that the system’s “PPE protocols could also be systemically placing lives in danger.”
HCA stated it believed the letter “was orchestrated by the SEIU as a part of their continued effort to assault hospitals throughout the nation” and was meant “to unfold misinformation in an try to achieve publicity.”