5,368 dead and counting: An investigation of state failures as crisis rampaged through N.J. nursing homes
The last time Claire Collins saw her family through the glass door of the nursing home in Bergen County, the 87-year-old woman looked weak but happy. As relatives huddled under an umbrella to stay dry, she sang “Singin’ in the Rain.” Three days later, on April 6, she was dead. Her daughter now agonizes over what she said she has learned from emails and other families since her mother died. Eighty percent of the residents of Atrium Post Acute Care at Park Ridge had coronavirus symptoms in mid-April, but only about a dozen had been tested because there were no supplies, Catherine Collins-Mullen said.
On the coronavirus front lines, Philly nurses also battle supply shortages and tension with employers
Two weeks ago, as a surge of COVID-19 cases loomed, nurse Dawn Kulach worried that she didn’t have the gear she needed to stay healthy and on the job during the worst pandemic in a century. Two weeks ago, as a surge of COVID-19 cases loomed, nurse Dawn Kulach worried that she didn’t have the gear she needed to stay healthy and on the job during the worst pandemic in a century. Wary of running out of N95 masks, Virtua Health System was limiting them to workers at its five South Jersey hospitals who were dealing with COVID-19-positive or suspected patients. Knowing that people without symptoms can carry the easily spread virus, Kulach, a medical surgical nurse, asked for better equipment for herself and colleagues. She got permission to wear an N95 brought from home, but kept agitating for other nurses who didn’t have the masks. On Friday, she said, she was dismissed for insubordination.
NJ to help cover child care costs for essential workers battling coronavirus outbreak
New Jersey is offering state subsidies to help health care workers, emergency responders, and other essential workers pay for child care amid the coronavirus pandemic, under a new program officials announced Thursday. Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order to create the Emergency Child Care Assistance Program. It offers $336 to $450 a week through April to those workers — regardless of income — so they can attend to fighting coronavirus.
New Jersey’s Nurses Mobilize in War Against COVID-19
Active nurses, student nurses and retired nurses — including a state assemblywoman — are volunteering to go where needed, from critical care to pop-up hospitals. Before COVID-19 reached New Jersey, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck had a 19-bed intensive care unit and 33 critical-care nurses. Now it has added four ICUs and is treating 45 patients, 40 of them on respirators. To satisfy the growing demand, about a dozen nurses have been reassigned from other units that have been temporarily closed, and a handful have been hired.
Worries About Asymptomatic Staffers Prompt New Nursing Home Rules
Drawing on COVID-19 data from Washington State, officials require surgical masks for staffers at long-term care facilities. Armed with data from hard-hit Washington State, and with cases on the rise at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities here, New Jersey officials have called for increasing precautions to help protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens from COVID-19.
Keep heat on to keep hospitals open | Jersey Journal editorial
The assignment of a state monitor to review the finances of the three CarePoint Health hospitals in Hudson County is a welcome development in a twisting, turning saga in which the welfare of residents is literally at stake. Frank Troy of the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority has been authorized to review and assess finances of the limited liability companies that control Christ Hospital in Jersey City, Hoboken University Medical Center and Bayonne Medical Center, state Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli said earlier this week.
House passes health care ID badge bill
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A bill that looks to protect health care workers’ identities passed unanimously Thursday in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The bill would remove the requirement of having last names on employees’ identification badges. Health care workers can often face privacy issues and threats to their wellbeing by having their full names on ID badges. Today, a quick Google search of someone’s full name can yield almost an entire outline of a person’s life and history, including their families.
A striking number of nurses say they're victims of workplace violence
Many Americans seeking a career have streamed into nursing in recent years, drawn by the ample employment opportunities, good pay and sense of purpose the profession offers. Less evident is a darker side of the job — a level of workplace violence that has many nurses fearing for their own safety. "The reality is if you ask emergency nurses, they will tell you every single shift they work there is some case of workplace violence," said Patti Kunz Howard, president of the Emergency Nurses Association. "It's a very real challenge in the workplace setting, and it's no longer OK."
Baton Rouge nurse's death prompts medical workers nationwide to demand workplace safety
Lynne Truxillo finished her shift, despite having sustained serious injuries trying to save another nurse from a behavioral health patient who attacked them at Baton Rouge General earlier this month. She finished her shift before undergoing a medical exam, which revealed she would need surgery to repair a torn ACL. And she died five days later, on April 11, after a blood clot traveled to her lungs — a death the East Baton Rouge coroner ruled a homicide because the blood clot resulted directly from her injuries.
Newark receives fourth DEP citation as lead levels continue to rise
Lead levels in Newark's drinking water continued to climb in the second half of 2018, even as the city sought corrective action on problems at the Pequannock Water Treatment Plant, according to new data from the state Department of Environmental Protection. On Friday, the DEP's reported on its website that Newark's water system had been cited for exceeding acceptable levels of lead for the fourth time in two years. The top 10 percent of samples taken during the most recent testing period, which spanned the second half of 2018, topped 47 lead parts per billion — more than three times the federal Environmental Protection Agency's standard. (Full article on politico.com)
DiGirolamo: With too few nurses, hospitals risk lives
On Wednesday, state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, of Bensalem, introduced legislation to set a “minimum ratio of patients to nurses.” Pennsylvania could have 2,479 fewer surgical deaths per year if the state implemented minimum patient-to-nurse ratios in area hospitals, Penn University researchers concluded in 2010. Nine years later, lawmakers in Harrisburg are still weighing legislation that would mandate a minimum number of nurses on-call at area medical centers. Such staffing ratios are opposed by the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, which argues mandated staffing measures will lead to increased health care costs for patients.
Nurses rank No. 1 for honesty and ethics 17 years in row!
You live by the American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics and are receiving the recognition you deserve, again.
In a recent Gallup poll, 84% of Americans surveyed rated the honesty and ethics of nurses as very high or high. You earned the top spot among a diverse list of professions for the 17th consecutive year.
This indicates a 2% increase compared to last year, during which 82% of Americans surveyed described your ethics as high or very high.
HALF OF NURSES SURVEYED CONSIDERED LEAVING FIELD, STRUGGLES PERSIST WITH BURNOUT
Burnout, overwork and harassment affected nurses and impact patient care in 2018, due in large part to the national nurse shortage, according to research released by travel nurse staffing provider RNnetwork. The study found nearly half of all respondents, 49%, have considered leaving nursing in the past two years, a number that has not changed since RNnetwork’s 2016 survey. Sixty percent of nurses reported they spend the right amount of time at work, a slight decrease from 63% in 2016 and an indication that hours and expectations are increasing.
Here are N.J.'s safest hospitals -- and how they all fared in new national survey
Six years after a panel of medical experts began grading hospitals across the country based on their success keeping patients safe and protecting them from infections, falls and mistakes, New Jersey has earned more A's than any other state in the nation, a report released Thursday said. The biannual Leapfrog Safety scores released on Thursday evaluated 67 hospitals in New Jersey, and 38 of them received A's, according to the report.
One in three nurses says patient safety ‘unfavorable’ at hospitals, Penn study finds
Two decades ago, a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine found that thousands of patients die in hospitals each year from preventable medical errors. In a new issue of Health Affairs devoted to that topic, an assortment of studies finds that hospitals have improved somewhat but have more work to do. Among the studies was a survey at 535 hospitals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Florida finding that 29.6 percent of nurses rated patient safety at those hospitals as "unfavorable."
Newark's water breaches levels for dangerous contaminant. And nearby towns are drinking it, too.
First it was lead. Now it's a likely carcinogenic chemical. Newark has again violated a federal standard, allowing a potentially cancer-causing contaminant to flow through the drinking water -- and the water it sells to nearby towns, according to state test records. The state records show Newark's water contains high levels of haloacetic acids, a group of five possibly carcinogenic chemicals that are byproducts of the water disinfection process. People exposed to elevated levels of haloacetic acids for years are at an increased risk of getting cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
OP-ED: WHY UNIONS ARE MORE VITAL THAN EVER FOR ALL WORKERS IN NEW JERSEY
As union membership continues to decline in the Garden State, it’s worth remembering that unions have been crucial in raising wages for all workers. Nine years have passed since the official conclusion of the Great Recession. At first glance, the New Jersey economy appears to be running on full steam, having recouped all the jobs lost in the recession and then some more. Wage employment is hovering around 4.2 million, a new high level. With the unemployment rate declining to 4.2 percent in July, it is at its lowest level since July 2007.
Labor Union Approval Steady at 15-Year High
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sixty-two percent of Americans approve of labor unions today, which is consistent with the 61% who approved last year and up from 56% in 2016. Before 2017, public support for unions hadn't exceeded 60% since 2003, when 65% approved. The American public has long supported organized labor, starting with Gallup's earliest measure, taken in 1936 at the dawn of the U.S. labor movement.
Governor Murphy signs bill concerning disqualification from unemployment benefits
This law corrects an anti-worker provision pushed by Governor Christie into a conditional veto in 2010. Unfortunately, unscrupulous employers used this broad definition of “misconduct” to deny unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to certain workers and to save themselves money by reducing their own UI contributions.
N.J. flu outbreak: Worried hospitals impose visitor restrictions
(NJ.com) The surge of flu-related emergency room visits in recent weeks has hospitals taking extra precautions, including bolstering visitor restrictions on children of certain ages and those with flu-like symptoms.
State health care workers struggle with staff reductions
(NorthJersey.com) We love our patients
– just ask any health care professional who
works day in and day out caring for them.
It’s a labor of love, as we work long hours -
Sale of Newark hospital to for-profit chain gets green light
(NJ.com) TRENTON -The Christie administration
should allow a for-profit hospital chain to buy the
bankrupt St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark,
a state panel recommended Thursday.
Newark Coalition Says it will Back Saint Michael’s sale, with conditions
(Politico.com) NEWARK -The leader of a community
coalition indicated during a public hearing Tuesday
evening that the group's support for the proposed sale
of Saint Michael's Medical Center is contingent upon...
HOW TO HANDLE SALE OF NEWARK HOSPITAL PRESENTS DILEMMA FOR STATE OFFICIALS
(NJSpotlight.com) Saint Michael’s sale to Prime
Healthcare receives unanimous support at public hearing,
but others raise serious questions about proposal.
At public hearing, widespread support for sale of Newark hospital
(POLITICO New Jersey) NEWARK -Supporters of the
proposed sale of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark
turned out in force Tuesday for a state Department of
Health public hearing.
BATTLE CONTINUES OVER NURSE-TO-PATIENTS RATIO AS MEASURE ADVANCES
(NJSpotLight.com) Nurses cite patient safety while hospitals
say they need staffing flexibility. Labor unions representing
the state’s nurses have won a key legislative skirmish over
reducing the registered nurses-to-patients ratio allowed in
hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.
Should N.J. hospitals be forced to add more nurses?
(NJ.com) TRENTON -Hospitals and same-day surgery centers
would be required to meet minimum nursing-to-patient
requirements or face fines by the state Department of Health
under a bill approved Thursday by a state Assembly committee.
St. Michael's Hospital files for bankruptcy
(NJ.News12.com) VIDEO St. Michael's Medical Center
in Newark has announced the facility is declaring bankruptcy.
However, President David Ricci says that this is actually good
news that will keep the hospital's doors open.
St. Michael's supporters knock Christie for absence as they await decision on hospital sale
(NJ.com) Clergy members joined elected officials, community
activists and dozens of employees Thursday to urge Gov. Chris
Christie to sign off on the long-awaited sale of St. Michael's
WITH BANKRUPTCY FILING, SAINT MICHAEL’S OPENS UP NEW FRONT IN BATTLE OVER SALE
(NJSpotlight.com) Hospital CEO points to lengthy state review
while state argues it must act in best interests of community. The
decision by Saint Michael’s Medical Center officials to file for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday opens a new opportunity for the
hospital to argue for its proposed sale to the California-based
for-profit chain Prime Healthcare Services.
OSHA to crack down on hospitals that don't protect nurses from injury
(FierceHealthcare.com) Noncompliant hospitals will face fines up
to $70K The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
has announced a new initiative to drastically increase scrutiny of
injuries among hospital nursing staff.
OP-ED: SAINT MICHAEL’S EDUCATING NEXT GENERATION OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
(NJSpotlight.com) For sake of Newark community, NJ needs to
approve pending sale to private operator. The debate over the future
of Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark has, to date,
completely ignored the central role this hospital plays in medical
Newarkers rally to keep Saint Michael's, N.J. setting tone in speech rights protection
(NJ.com) More than 200 employees, physicians, patients,
community members and local officials joined several labor
unions – including JNESO, District 1199J and IUOE Local 68
- for a rally in support of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in
Newark on Wednesday.
Fighting to Keep Saint Michael’s Medical Center Open
(NJTVNews.com) VIDEO This time it’s religious leaders
stepping out to lend support in the fight to keep Saint
Michael’s Medical Center open in Newark. “This is a
moral issue. This is a moral issue,” said Rev. Ronald
Slaughter, senior pastor at Saint James AME Church