Patient Volume Decrease Prompts Nursing Reductions at San Jose-Based Good Samaritan Hospital
A decrease in patient volume at San Jose-based Good Samaritan Hospital has prompted a reorganization plan that may result in the elimination of as many as 12 nursing positions and a higher nurse-to-patient ratio in some units, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports. Overall patient volume has decreased 20% this year compared to last year, and patient volume for women's health services has fallen 33%, according to Julie Clayton, Good Samaritan's chief nursing officer. The Business Journal reports that patient volume has decreased in part because some of the hospital's OB/GYNs have stopped accepting managed care contracts. Although some OB/GYNs plan to begin contracting with managed care companies again, patient volume in the obstetrics unit would not increase for at least nine months, according to Clayton. In addition, patient volume might have been affected by the hospital's loss of its contract with Medicare HMO Secure Horizons last year. The reorganization, expected to take effect in January, will combine the medical oncology unit with the orthopedic neurology unit and cut an estimated 12 nursing positions. The hospital plans to hold an "internal job fair" to inform any nurses affected by the cuts of other positions within the hospital. Nurses whose current positions are cut can choose to be laid off instead of accepting another position within the hospital. The hospital also plans to cut some temporary traveling nurse positions. Nurse-to-patient ratios in the newly formed medical oncology/orthopedic neurology unit will be one nurse for every seven patients during the day and one nurse for every eight patients at night. The nurse-to-patient ratio in the labor and delivery unit will remain one nurse for every three patients. The nurses union at Good Samaritan will meet today to "voice its opposition" to the hospital's plan, according to Malinda Markowitz, a nurse staff union representative (May, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 11/22).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.