from the Washington State Nurses Association and the registered nurses of Yakima Regional
May 24, 2016
The sale of Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center is of vital importance to the registered nurses who work there and their union, the Washington State Nurses Association. As nurses at the bedside every hour of every day, we have seen first-hand the damaging impacts of CHS’s focus on profits over patients. We would welcome an owner who put patients and the community first.
Under CHS’s direction, Yakima Regional profits went up 20 percent between 2012 and 2014, even as the hospital cut charity care by 19 percent. Under CHS, Yakima Regional is charging more than ever for procedures, even as the hospital sends millions of dollars per year to CHS corporate headquarters in Tennessee.
Any sale of Yakima Regional should give top consideration to the needs of our patients and the greater Yakima community. The registered nurses at Yakima Regional stand with the community in calling for a process that gives the community a voice in selecting the new owner and that ensures the hospital is sold to an organization that values creating access to health services, ensuring quality of care and promoting health equity. We call for an owner committed to investing in a quality workforce and ensuring safe nurse staffing levels and working conditions so that we can give patients the safe, high quality care they deserve.
As nurses, our Code of Ethics calls on us to advocate for the health and safety of our patients. One of the places we do this is at the bargaining table. WSNA is in the midst of negotiating a new contract for the registered nurses at Yakima Regional – one that will ensure safe staffing levels, give nurses a seat at the table when decisions about safe staffing levels are made, ensure nurses regularly get the rest and meal breaks they need, and that offers competitive wages and benefits to recruit and retain great nurses.
We will continue our fight at the bargaining table for as long as it takes to get the Yakima community what they need, no matter who owns Yakima Regional. And, we will continue to stand with our patients, our families and our neighbors to advocate for a new owner that is committed to the health and wellbeing of the Yakima community.
Anji Bryant, RN
Kitt Ruchert, RN
WSNA Unit Co-chairs for Yakima Regional
WSNA Assistant Executive Director, Labor Relations