Alameda Hospital nurses picket to prevent relocation of surgeries

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024 5:46AM
Alameda Hospital nurses picket to prevent relocation of surgeries
Alameda Hospital nurses are on strike as the hospital is planning on relocating some surgeries as a way to cut costs.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Some cuts don't heal, say nurses picketing at Alameda Hospital in Alameda.

"Their plan is to have the emergency room remain open, but anyone requiring surgery will have to be transferred to another facility. Taking precious time in delaying that care," says Lisa LaFave, a registered nurse who was picketing.

The concern is that the hospital is scheduled to relocate some surgeries as of July 1, as a way to cut costs.

"There are ostensibly saying there are cutting elective surgery, but we know that they will ultimately eliminate all surgery. We think this is a terrible disservice to the public. It puts our patients at risk," says LaFave.

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Alameda, San Leandro and Highland hospitals are three acute care facilities that service western Alameda County.

In a statement to ABC7 News, Alameda Health System, which operates the three hospitals, points to $55 million price tag to retrofit Alameda Hospital. It writes: "The relocation of elective surgery is part of a plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of Alameda Hospital."

The statement goes to say: "In fact, only 5% of the elective surgery patients treated at Alameda Hospital are from the city of Alameda. The remaining 95% of patients travel from outside of the city of Alameda for elective surgery."

"Highland and San Leandro are already at capacity," says LaFave. "We have an operating room right here. Why not use this? Why not make this a center for excellent care when are already have facilities that are over loaded?"

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LaFave admits that the surgery facilities at Alameda Hospital are underutilized. But her concerns are these cuts will have a domino effect.

"Emergency rooms, ORs and ICUs are a triad of necessity for handling emergencies. So you can't have one without the other," explains LaFave.

"Many of our patients are on Medicaid or uninsured, and they come to Alameda Hospital because it is the only place they can receive care," said Anna Dorion, a nurse who works in the operating room. "Cutting their access to essential, life-saving services is antithetical to Alameda Health's own mission of promoting 'community health.' Everyone, regardless of their income or background, deserves quality care."

The nurse are asking the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to step in ahead of the July 1 deadline. They plan to protest at the board meeting on June 18.

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