University Hospital Peds/Peds ICU Unit Closure

Recently, HPAE was advised of the Hospital’s plan to close both the Pediatric and the Pediatric Intensive Care Units in the near future. According to Dr. Carl Kirton (Chief Nursing Officer), the census on the pediatric units is routinely low and allegedly patients would be better served at Newark Beth Israel. Management clearly indicated that any plans to close the units would be handled in accordance with the seniority clause of our contract.

At this time, no details have been provided as management must first apply for a ‘Certificate of Need’ from the Department of Health before they can move forward with plans to close the units. HPAE was initially given a tentative date of April 1st to begin the process for closing the units, however, management failed to submit their ‘Certificate of Need’ application before the February 1st deadline thereby postponing the closures indefinitely.

We made it clear that we disagree with their decision to close Peds & Peds ICU. HPAE raised concerns about the impact on patient care and patient outcomes for the families throughout Newark, especially those within close proximity. In addition, we have expressed concern for some critical care registered nurses that may be expected to care for pediatric patients that are not medically stable enough to transfer to other facilities as they will be forced to put their license in jeopardy. We are concerned that new nurses may be inadvertently set up to fail.

HPAE has requested a meeting with management to address our concerns as well as to bargain the impact of their proposal to close these units on our membership. We hope management can listen to reason before any attempts to dismantle UH begins.

HPAE will provide updates as details become available, however, if you would like more information, please feel free to contact your local union rep.

Cynthia McDougall
HPAE Local 5089 President