UPHS-Marquette nurses file state report

Courtesy photo from Michigan Nurses Association MNA nurses from UPHS-Marquette unveil a new report about unsafe patient care conditions, asking for an investigation.

MARQUETTE — Members of the UP Health System-Marquette Registered Nurse Staff Council are in the process of filing a report documenting unsafe patient conditions at for-profit hospital Duke LifePoint to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

On Thursday, nurses gathered outside of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ office in Marquette along Baraga Avenue as Scott Balko, RN and president of the local chapter of the Michigan Nurses Association, gave MDHHS a report of patient safety concerns. Balko and other nurses were told to take the matter to the State of Michigan.

“Since Duke LifePoint bought Marquette General Hospital, there has been a steady decline in quality patient care,” Balko stated in the cover letter attached to the report. “We are gravely concerned for the safety of the Marquette community and the Michigan residents who arrive at UPHS-Marquette from other areas of the Upper Peninsula.”

The report includes a list of 111 cases of one or more IVs running dry, medicines being given late, 12 reports of one or more patient falls and 259 reports of one or more nurses going without breaks, lunches or being mandated to work 16 hour shifts.

According to a press release from the Michigan Nurses Association, Duke LifePoint and Marquette nurses have been in contract negotiations since April. However, the contract lapsed on July 28 after management neglected to respond to staffing concerns, the release states. The nurses are currently working without a contract.

“Delivering safe, high-quality care is UP Health System-Marquette’s top priority,” Victor Harrington, regional marketing director of UP Health System, said in an email. “We take all concerns regarding patient safety very seriously, and have worked to ensure that our staff have many ways to share ideas, voice concerns and ask questions.”

According to Harrington, the forms delivered to the MDHHS on Thursday were part of an initiative to expand the ways Duke LifePoint collects feedback from nurses.

“We are disappointed that the union has opted to leverage them in this way while we are negotiating a new contract that better meets the needs of our staff, our community and our hospital. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and discuss these concerns with the MNA, our nursing staff or anyone in our community,” Harrington said.

The MNA’s report of safety concerns is expected to reach the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs by next week.

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