Union claims nursing 'exodus' from Northside Hospital - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Union claims nursing 'exodus' from Northside Hospital

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The Ohio Nurses Association claims that nearly 60 nurses have left Northside Medical Center since it was taken over by Community Health Systems Inc.

A news release from the ONA claims that the nurses who have resigned from Northside since September amount to approximately 10 percent of the nursing staff, including half of the nurses in surgical intensive care.

The ONA says  four nursing positions are included in a recent announcement by CHS that more than 50 additional full-time positions at Northside are being eliminated. Other positions slated for elimination are in respiratory, imaging and laboratory.

The release says that the exodus of nurses could undermine the hospital's award-winning patient care.

Nurses at Northside have been working without a contract for more than 16 months, and many took part in a one day strike at the hospital in September to protest what that union claims were unfair labor practices.

The union says unresolved contract issues include what it calls "nurse rationing" and a proposal that the union claims could undermine nurses ability to speak out on issues such as safety and patient care.

21 News has asked CHS to respond to the nurses claims, and is still waiting for a response.

However, in a memo issued to employees last week, Northside Medical Center CEO Kirk Ray said the elimination of 56 full time positions is part of a restructuring needed due to significant patient volume declines and shrinking reimbursements.

In the memorandum, Kirk Ray says "We will never compromise on quality, compassion or patient safety."

In August, Northside Medical Center announced that 77 full time employees would be laid off or have work hours reduced.

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