NURSE SHORTAGE: CNA Leader Says Industry Is To Blame
In a letter to Modern Healthcare, California Nurses Association Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro says that "[i]ndustry representatives would have us believe the current shortage of registered nurses is a natural evolution in the business cycle." However, she argues that "the conditions for a shortage were created through deliberate policies that under the guise of cost containment were intended to enrich employers and consultants alike -- at a terrible cost to our communities and to patients who have suffered the effects of dangerously understaffed hospitals and clinics." She charges that "corporate buzzwords like 'patient-focused care'" that came into vogue as "hospitals were reengineered," were actually "intended to remove the highest-skilled health professionals, including registered nurses, or replace them with lower-paid employees." According to DeMoro, the "result was threefold: layoffs of thousands of health professionals, an explosion of riches for the industry and their consultants and patients and communities stripped of care." She notes that in "California, the effects are especially acute due to the sheer size of the population, the concurrent lure of profits and the advanced market influence of managed care." DeMoro concludes, "What is needed today is not just an alarm at the sudden emergence of registered nurse vacancies, but a change in the practices that led to those shortages" (3/16 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.