Healthcare Workers Strike At Five California Hospitals
By: Robert Spence
Thousands of healthcare workers walked off the job at the University of California’s five medical centers on Tuesday, delaying surgeries, diagnostics procedures, treatments and emergency care throughout the state.
The Union representing 13,000 California Hospital employees said the strike is scheduled to last two days to draw attention to staffing shortages they say undermine patient care at the hospitals in San Francisco, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego and Irvine. The two-day walkout could cost the system’s medical centers up to $20 million.
AFSCME, the union representing healthcare workers, says UC refuses to ensure adequate staffing at its five medicate centers. Union rep Todd Stenhouse said that’s creating unsafe working conditions.
“Oftentimes now we’re asking fewer staff to do more with less. On a balance sheet, that may look great. If it’s your relative or your loved one that’s in that hospital, it doesn’t look so good,” Stenhouse said.
Stenhouse added the union also wants management to stop contracting out healthcare jobs to temps and volunteers.
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Some of the public hospital system’s estimated 3,400 pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists and lab scientists also walked out on Tuesday in a one-day sympathy strike at the five medical centers.
University of California Vice President for Human Resources Dwaine Duckett said his organization had offered the workers a four-year contract with up to 3.5 percent annual wage increases. The average employee in the union earns $55,000 a year, he said
“The allegation is they’re doing this for patient safety,” UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said. “If we had unsafe staffing levels, we wouldn’t be in operation. I really don’t understand how walking off the job and leaving patients stranded is helping them.”
Klein says the sticking point in negotiations have been the union’s unwillingness to agree to changes to a pension system that most of the university’s other workers have already accepted.
“What AFSCME wants is a special deal for them, and we don’t think it’s fair,” she said.
Proposed changes include raising employee pension contributions, revising eligibility rules for retiree health benefits, and creating a second tier of retirement benefits for new workers.
Stenhouse said the union would be happy to deal with pension reform, but said management isn’t playing fair.
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.