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Union integral to quality L+M care

By JOSEPH GREENE

Publication: The Day

Published November 30. 2013 4:00AM

The deeply compassionate and outstanding professional services at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital have flowed from the community itself - resident care givers and ancillary staff giving heart and soul to their jobs. The hospital provides excellence because its greatest resource, its employees, consider all patients loved ones.

Caregivers at L+M have evolved to meet the pace of a changing medical world concurrent with services provided by hospital unions. To the worker bee it can truly make a difference to know the consequence of an administrative determination, far from the realities of floor coverage, might be mitigated by union representation attentive to the concerns of both staff and patient.

Employees at L+M who seek the continued benefit of union participation look for furtherance of optimal health care, the hospital mission. Winnowing out union representation, the de facto consequence of L+M's current leadership design, could weaken the proven paradigm for successful patient care.

Alternatively, top administration claims can leave one perplexed, as in the case of formally stating there have been no cuts in service from job layoffs over the past year. Nutritionally, this is not so. Food service has been eliminated from the hospital for 12 hours of every day. Sometimes enterprising staff members stockpile a meager supply of sandwiches for the new-admission or post-operative patients who otherwise have nothing to eat but the like of crackers.

Administrative missives bemoan the cost of annual kitchen expenses while omitting the cost factor of foods and services provided explicitly for administrative benefit. Headlines tout fiscal difficulties the hospital incurs while omitting mention of the greatest out-of-pocket hospital expenses: acquisition of Westerly Hospital and the initiation of the cancer center. Current news reports state only two medical units have closed from the present strike when in fact the number is no less than four.

For the hospital administration to seek faith from its workers it should faithfully report on itself. Cayman Island bank holdings only were disclosed after hospital union discovery.

Only one entity can act to balance the administrative authority at L+M Hospital, whose quest to change the status quo has now so disrupted health care and community. If L+M board members on the employ of the hospital were to divest themselves of issues related to the current strike, one might ask if a more impartial outcome might be rendered.

This is more than just a leaky roof.

Joseph Greene is a respiratory therapist who has worked at L+M for 22 years.

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