July 17, 2024

The Health

Your health, your choice

Las Vegas nurses to protest HCA contract proposals that threaten patient care quality

RNs demand serious proposals to improve nurse recruitment and retention

Nurses at MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas, Nev., will hold a rally on Thursday, June 13, to protest HCA’s failure to seriously address its nurse recruitment and retention crisis in contract negotiations, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). Among other key issues, nurses are upset about HCA’s refusal to address proposals for dedicated break relief nurses, who handle patient care while nurses take their necessary meal and rest breaks.

“HCA’s lawyer told us during bargaining, ‘These negotiations are not about patient safety.’ That says it all,” said Jenevie Aranas-Bowen, RN in the intermediate care unit. “HCA refuses to see the significance of break relief nurses in delivering safety and continuity of care for all patients. MountainView nurses continue to fight and advocate for our patients, despite HCA pocketing billions only to deliver less than the bare minimum.”

Nurses’ current contract expires on June 30, but nurses report that, in bargaining sessions to date, HCA – one of the country’s richest healthcare companies – has been focused on shortchanging nurses and their patients, whose care conditions are directly tied to the working conditions at the facility.

Who: Nurses at HCA MountainView Hospital
What: Protest to demand strong RN recruitment and retention and patient care proposals
When: Thursday, June 13, 7:45 a.m.
Where: MountainView Hospital, 3100 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, Nev.

“It is outrageous that HCA would refuse to accept our proposal for break relief nurses while frequently providing us with unsafe staffing that endangers our patients’ safety,” said Nicole Taylor, RN in labor and delivery. “Despite their billions in profits, they are making unacceptable proposals on key issues, which will only exacerbate the difficulties MountainView faces recruiting and retaining high quality and experienced registered nurses.”

“Over the past several weeks, nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have had numerous unsafe assignments that have put babies in our unit at risk. This is devastating and heart-breaking for us as nurses,” said Liz Rodriguez, RN in the NICU. “Instead of HCA doing everything possible to bring nurses in, they rely on our commitment and dedication to our patients and colleagues to stay over and pick up extra shifts or leave the unit short.”

HCA, the largest health system in the countryadvertises over 180 hospitals in its network. The company self-reported over $5.2 billion in profits in 2023 but regularly shuts down vital health services at its hospitals. According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, HCA has reported over $31.7 billion in profits since 2018 and executive compensation totalling hundreds of millions of dollars. 

HCA co-founder and major shareholder Thomas Frist, Jr., who has extensive experience serving as an executive at HCA, currently ranks in the top 75 of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans and the top 60 of the Bloomberg Billionaire Index of the world’s 500 richest people, with an estimated net worth of nearly $30 billion.

NNOC/NNU represents nearly 950 nurses at MountainView Hospital and nearly 10,000 nurses at HCA facilities nationwide. NNOC/NNU nurses are currently negotiating new contracts at 17 HCA hospitals in six states.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.