• Out of respect for our current and former employee’s privacy, we do not comment on personnel matters. We choose to respect the privacy of all employees.
• We have a policy of progressive disciplinary action that is followed for employee discipline and termination for cause. We follow that policy.
• Further, we have always followed a policy of non-discrimination, union members or not. And, we have consistently demonstrated our commitment to following that policy. Over the years, in our long term relationship with 1199, there has not been a pattern of discrimination against employees because of their union affiliation.
• January and February were both times of exceptionally high census numbers for the hospital, due to flu and other related illnesses. We underestimated the high census needs and immediately enhanced recruitment efforts.
• Since March, we have hired 35 new nurses and expect additions to the nursing ranks in the next couple of months by offering competitive wage and benefit packages.
• Per the negotiated contracts, we remain committed to staffing at the 40th percentile and are continually working to achieve that level using core staff, agency nurses when necessary, and a mix of part time and per diem nurses. If, for whatever reason, we fall short of that target, as committed and agreed to in the contract, we make a contribution to the nurse education fund that benefits our workforce.
• The funding portion of the agreement is complex as it uses a tracking mechanism to check staffing on a combined 31 nurse and tech units each day; some are checked twice daily for a total of 42 unit checkpoints a day. If we fall short on staffing, even on 1 out of 42 checkpoints each day, the agreement calls for a contribution to the education fund.
In the fall, the New Mexico Hospital Association compiled staffing data for a subset that focused on RN staffing, in medical/surgical units. For our peer group of NM hospitals, the RN staffing hours-per-patient day range was 4.45 to 6.39. Our RN hours-per-patient was 5.83. This means we have higher staffing levels than most larger hospitals in NM.
Knowing that our staffing is actually more generous than our peers, one would expect our patient satisfaction levels to be higher than the 62% state average as reported in the CMS report for the period ending 6/30/14. This is just another reminder that staffing is but one facet of a patient’s overall satisfaction.
We know we have a way to go on improving patient satisfaction. And while the CMS data is nearly 18 months old, we take the feedback seriously. As such, in the past year alone we have made additional investments in our people and in our facility. For example:
• Over the past year, we met with the community and learned what they were thinking and what they wanted in their hospital. We responded with several things, including patient navigators, a billing advocate, an enhanced customer service model, and the conversion to private rooms.
• We‘ve made additional investments in professional development for nurses and all other direct care providers in the hospital.
• We’ve entered into a 2 year partnership with a firm that specializes in training and developing a culture of service that is essential for successful delivery of care. All of our employees will benefit from training and coaching designed to further develop the fundamentals of service in health care that is part of improving patient and physician satisfaction.
Every day our goal is to provide for all patient needs in a safe and compassionate manner. We are confident that taking these steps and others will improve the patient experience in many areas and promote better, faster healing.