Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Registered Nurses and Professional staff at Bergen Regional Medical Center (BRMC) after 19 years under the management of a for-profit corporation are pleased with County Executive’s decision to select Care Plus Bergen, a non-profit provider to take over the operation of the hospital.
In 1997, the County gave control of New Jersey’s largest public hospital to a for-profit company from Colorado. From the start, the staff of over 500 nurses and health professionals represented by HPAE has consistently raised concerns about quality of care and safety of patients and workers. A history of workplace violence came to light in 2016, with nearly 290 reports of patient assaults on workers in 2015.
“This announcement brings relief to workers who have consistently raised red flags about conditions that have put our patients at risk. Our hospital has always been the safety net for those with the greatest needs in our community. This rightfully returns the hospital to a not-for-profit status and should mean the restoration of resources to our patients,” said Jeff Peck, RN, President of HPAE Local 5091 at BRMC. Mr. Peck works full time as an RN at the hospital.
At the onset of the County’s effort to seek applications for a new operator, workers put forward a set of principles that any new operator must adhere to including improved oversight and authority; protection of the hospital’s mission for patients; set safe staffing requirements; protect current services and conduct public review for any proposed reduction in services; protect workers’ rights and all existing labor contracts; make capital investment in the facility for updates and improvements; require annual audited financial statements and make them available to the public; and require public disclosure with prior review and approval of authority board of any transactions between a partner or any related entities.
“In addition to restoring the mission of this hospital, there is also a promise that the rights, jobs and collective bargaining agreements of our nurses and professional staff will be protected. We look forward to a new era of greater oversight and transparency of operations, and improvements for keeping patients and staff safe,” said Ann Twomey, President of HPAE.
For more information: Bridget Devane, (732) 996-5493