Local News

OR Nurses Assoc. Reacts To SCMC Violations

BEND, OR -- The Oregon Health Authority uncovered hundreds of staffing violations at St Charles Bend, according to a recent state report. St Charles Bend nurses filed a complaint about inadequate staffing levels partly prompting the months-long investigation.

Acording to Kevin Mealy, with the Oregon Nurses Association, the complaints were about the hospital's use of 'the buddy system,' which he says can double a nurse's patient-load. He says the state also found issues with improperly filed reports by the hospital staffing committee, misuse of mandatory overtime, and inadequate recordkeeping. "One of the many violations that the Oregon health authority found was that the staffing committee had left large blank spots in terms of if they were approving plans, if they weren't approving plans, and then in some cases, what were the guidelines used to determine if they'd come up with a safe staffing matrix." The hospital staffing committee comes up with plans that dictate the ratios of nurses to patients, depending on how much care each patient needs.
"We know that St. Charles has budgetary concerns as well, now," says Mealy, "And that's why we're very hopeful that this can be a collaborative process and that it involves the front line caregivers - nurses - and other caregivers that have the best insight into how to fix it and make sure that it stays that way." He tells KBND News, "The full report's 40-some pages and I've read it a lot and I think there's a number of easy fixes. But, there's a lot of cultural change that will be required, and that can't be an 'us versus them' solution, it needs to be an 'everybody's pulling on the same oar to get this done,' and I hope that there's a willingness to do that at this point."
St. Charles officials say they have submitted a required "plan of correction" to the state. The Oregon Health Authority will follow up to determine if there's been progress between St. Charles and the nurses in the next 30 days.

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