Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is ramping up a campaign over safe staffing at a Springfield hospital run by the non-profit PeaceHealth chain. The union gets more complaints about staffing from members at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend than from any other hospital in Oregon.
For more than two years, nurses have complained to Riverbend hospital administrators about staffing levels, and ONA spent over 200 hours discussing it during contract negotiations this year. The union says the problem stems from a decision to cut staff, even as the Riverbend hospital made a record $43.5 million profit last year.
From June 2013 to June 2014, ONA members at Riverbend documented 272 instances of delayed or omitted medical treatment, 210 instances of missed pain management, and 247 cases in which patient hygiene was delayed or omitted — because of understaffing.
The campaign is sparking local news coverage, and even led to a public scolding of management by the biggest local newspaper: After meeting with nurses, the Register-Guard editorial board urged hospital administrators to address their complaints in an editorial published Dec. 5.