June 25, 2020
Riverside, CA (June 25, 2020) – At a time when hundreds of hospitals across the country are laying off and furloughing caregivers because of significant declines in patient volumes, Riverside Community Hospital has not laid off or furloughed a single caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our goal from the beginning of the pandemic has been to protect our people by keeping them safe and keeping them employed. This is why we instituted a pandemic pay program, which has benefited many colleagues by providing them with 70% of their pay even when there has been no work. To date, HCA Healthcare has spent $160 million on pay continuation programs, providing continued paychecks to more than 140,000 colleagues. In stark contrast, SEIU 121RN wants to take nurses off their jobs for 10 consecutive days. During this unparalleled health crisis, this planned strike is a misguided tactic causing nurses to lose 1o days of wages and serves no benefit to our patients and this community.
Now more than ever is the time to support hospitals in the face of this great adversity; it is not the time to create conflict and spread misinformation. The motivation behind SEIU, 121RN’s strike has very little to do with the best interest of their members and is motivated by with contract negotiations. However disappointing, we want our patients to know that, as always, we have plans in place to ensure appropriate staffing for any type of event, be it a natural disaster or labor strike. We will remain a steadfast resource for our community and will not allow this to derail our mission of caring for our patients and community.
Regarding staffing: Since March of 2019, Riverside Community Hospital has hired 691 employees, 307 of which were nurses. The hospital added a dedicated vascular access team, a code team, ancillary support staff and increased staffing in the ER. The hospital deployed more than $18 million in capital equipment to improve hospital operations. Through our combined efforts as a team, leadership and nursing, Riverside Community Hospital earned a patient safety grade A by the Leap Frog Group, a prominent national hospital safety rating organization.
Regarding PPE: Riverside Community Hospital has been doing everything in our power to protect our colleagues and patient care teams throughout the pandemic and equip them to provide safe, effective care to our patients by following or exceeding CDC protocols. We have provided appropriate PPE, including a universal masking policy requiring all staff in all areas to wear masks, including N95s, in line with CDC guidance. While we currently have adequate supplies of PPE, we continue to provide safeguards that are consistent with CDC guidelines and help ensure the protection of our colleagues, not only today, but into the future as the pandemic evolves. The SEIU fails to recognize the reality all hospitals nationwide are facing, that this pandemic has strained the worldwide supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, and gowns. This is especially surprising since the SEIU itself fell victim to an alleged N95 manufacturing scam that is now part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation.
Regarding CARES Act funding: Similar to other healthcare providers, the spread of COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on Riverside Community Hospital, simultaneously reducing revenues and increasing expenses. The CARES Act funding HCA Healthcare hospitals have received to date represents only a portion of our anticipated lost revenue and increased expenses resulting from the pandemic. To provide even more perspective, HCA Healthcare’s 180 U.S. hospitals provide about 5 percent of all inpatient hospital services in the country while we have received less than 2 percent of the CARES Act provider relief funds distributed to date.
For a more detailed understanding of the CARES Act and the funding relief to our hospitals, please see a recent letter from our CFO and FAQ.