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UC Davis Nurses Call For Better Conditions, Hospital Denies Claims

UC Davis Medical Center nurses are crying out in frustration over what they say is a lack of proper guidance and a critical staffing issue that is putting nurses and patients at risk. This is in response to the latest CDC guidance allowing Covid-19 positive hospital workers to return to work. UC Davis workers held a virtual press conference Tuesday to express their concerns and experiences claiming that UC Davis Health is not providing the proper accommodations and working under the current conditions is too demanding. The group of nurses said in the press conference that they are looking for a different response other than following the national recommendations, stressing that working with active coronavirus poses a massive risk to patient safety, in an already difficult situation.

Following the press conference, UC Davis Health sent this statement to Fox 40 in response to the claims presented in the press conference:

“Allegations made by the California Nurses Association today are not backed up by facts. The union’s attempt to make one-size-fits-all accusations seem specific (as seen last week in the Bay Area, Las Vegas and Washington DC) do not apply here. These broad-brush allegations do not reflect the facts at UC Davis: At UC Davis Health, we appreciate our dedicated nurses, and we are committed to delivering nationally ranked patient care — even with record-high hospitalization rates in Sacramento and during a national health care worker shortage.

Among the union’s factual errors:

  • UC Davis Medical Center does not force nurses to work if they are COVID positive. Any employee off the job due to COVID must have a negative COVID test before returning to work or remain away from work until the infection has passed. While other hospitals with short staffing need COVID-positive employees to work, we at UC Davis Medical Center have not had to take this step to provide care for patients.
  • Although some hospitals have applied to the state for permission to make staffing ratio adjustments to help them get through the pandemic, UC Davis Medical Center has not filed a request to modify nurse-to-patient ratios.
  • Different hospitals have different strategies to keep up with the record numbers of patients. UC Davis Medical Center announced late last week it was one of a few hospitals in the region partnering with the California Department of Public Health to provide additional staffing to care for the increasing number of hospitalized patients.
  • CNA’s allegations are just another example of its one-size-fits-all criticisms that ignore the ongoing pandemic and a national shortage of health care workers. Additionally, UC and CNA are set to start bargaining on a new union contract in the next few months, and activities such as this are part of CNA’s bargaining process.
  • Today, UC Davis Medical Center has set a new all-time high for the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with 126 infected patients. According to state and local health dashboards, COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations and Emergency Department visits for COVID-like symptoms (under the “Health Care” tab) set new, all-time-record high numbers for all of Sacramento County over the past week. Even with the challenges of the last two years, our medical center has provided employees with tens of thousands of hours of paid time off and wellness care, and taken many other steps to give staff the time they need to care for themselves and their families, so they can do what they do best — take care of our patients.
  • Despite challenges brought by the pandemic, UC Davis Health is committed to safe staffing for patients, as demonstrated by our ongoing hiring of new nurses. UC Davis Health has hired more than 1,000 new nurses during the pandemic and has a continuing low turnover rate among nurses. Nurses who come to UC stay at UC because they know we care about the care they provide to patients."

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