New Television Ad Highlights Safe Staffing Concerns at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital

For Immediate Release
News from the Michigan Nurses Association
Contact: Roger Kerson, roger@rkcommunications.net, 734.645.0535


Nurses See “Negative Changes” Since Texas-based Tenet Healthcare Purchased DMC,
Now Under Investigation for Infection Control and Instrument Cleaning Issues

(Commerce Township, MI) Concerns about safe staffing at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, an affiliate of the Tenet Healthcare’s Detroit Medical Center, are the focus of a new cable television and online advertising campaign by the Michigan Nurses Association.

“I’ve seen a lot of negative changes in the past few years since Tenet’s takeover of our hospital,” says Julie Skidmore, one of the Huron Valley nurses who appears in the advertisement.

The ad is running on cable television during October in Commerce Township, Livonia, Milford, Novi, Redford, Walled Lake, Wixom and surrounding communities. It is also appearing on multiple online platforms and is posted, along with a transcript, at InsideDMC.org. Patients can also share their experiences through the website.

Nurses at Huron Valley, ​a 158-bed community teaching hospital in Commerce Township, voted to organize their union in March 2016, but still have not reached a first contract agreement. Safe staffing, with an adequate number of nurses to meet professional standards of patient care, is a top priority for members of the Professional Nurses Association – Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (PNA-HVSH).

The television and online ads also feature Colleen Downes, a nurse at Huron Valley.  Since Texas-based Tenet Healthcare acquired DMC and Huron Valley in 2013, she says, “It’s very corporate, it’s all about the money.”

“I kind of wonder, with these Tenet executives,” says Julie Skidmore, “if that were their mother lying in my ICU bed in critical condition…”

While RNs at Huron Valley have made repeated efforts to bargain a mutually beneficial labor agreement, the National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital stating it has engaged in numerous unfair labor practices in an effort to interfere with members rights to organize and refusing to bargain in good faith.

Company executives, the Labor Board’s complaint states, have illegally banned a union representative from entering hospital grounds; refused to respond to requests for information needed by nurses for effective representation at the bargaining table; and refused nurses their right to meet with colleagues and labor representatives.

In addition, Tenet, the for-profit owner of DMC which includes Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital – is currently under investigation by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The investigation follows media reports that “DMC surgeons continue to see examples of dirty surgical instruments and trays that have to be sent back to the sterile processing department.”

Physicians and other sources in an October 7 Crain’s Detroit Business article echo concerns expressed by Huron Valley nurses about the impact of corporate cost-cutting on patient care.

“During my time at DMC,” cardiologist Joel Kahn told Crain’s, “I experienced a culture of numbers and productivity that was stronger than [the] culture of quality and patient care.” Dr. Kahn was corporate director of preventive cardiology at DMC from 2011 to 2013.

More information about safe staffing, unfair labor practices and other issues at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital is available at InsideDMC.org.

The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.

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