Inadequate Staffing Raises Health Care Costs, Nurses Say
Sacramento County jail nurses and sheriffs' officials at a press conference on Thursday called for more nurses to be hired, saying that nurse staffing vacancies were contributing to higher jail health care costs, the Sacramento Bee reports. Recent audits and reports found that 30% of nursing positions in the county jail system are vacant.
Reports prepared by Ely Abalos, a nurse with 12 years tenure in the county jails, indicate that the county spends $150,000 to $500,000 monthly for medical care delivered outside of the county jails.
Six county public health nurses joined the press conference. The public health nurses said similar staff vacancies exist in county clinics and outreach programs.
The California Nurses Association, which represents the jail nurses, currently is negotiating a new contract with the county.
Kathleen Campini Chambers, a spokesperson for the county executive, attributed the staffing situation partly to a nationwide nursing shortage. She declined to discuss criticism raised by nurses and sheriff's officials further because contract negotiations are ongoing (Jewett, Sacramento Bee, 7/7).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Friday reported on the contract negotiations. The segment includes comments from Erik Conradson, a union representative (Milne, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 7/6).
The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.