UC-Davis To Close ED, Cut Services in Preparation for Nurse Strike
University of California-Davis Medical Center officials said the hospital's emergency department will be closed and services in other units will be reduced on Thursday during an expected one-day strike by members of the California Nurses Association at UC's five teaching hospitals, the Sacramento Bee reports. The hospital on Tuesday began refusing most patients who arrived by ambulance, and "all but the most critical trauma and burn patients will be turned away" as of Wednesday night to prepare for the expected nursing shortage, the Bee reports.
The hospital also is closing its intensive care units, refusing transfer patients and postponing surgeries in preparation for the strike.
UC-Davis Medical Center Chief Nursing Executive Carol Robinson said the hospital needs to reduce its typical patient load by 24% by Thursday (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 7/19).
CNA on July 8 said the 8,300 nurses it represents at UC hospitals had voted against a proposed contract with UC and were planning a one-day strike for July 21. CNA wants the UC contract to guarantee current nurse-to-patient requirements, even if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is successful in his push to change the ratios.
CNA also opposes Schwarzenegger's proposal to alter the state pension system. CNA said UC plans to require university employees to pay 8% of their salaries toward the pension system. Workers currently have no pension contribution requirements (California Healthline, 7/11).
All five UC teaching hospitals have reduced services in preparation for strike, and all but UC-Davis have hired replacement workers.
UC-Davis is the only Level One trauma center in the region and "the only place equipped to deal with some of the most complicated patients," the Bee reports. Burn victims and some pediatric patients who cannot get the level of care they need at other hospitals can still be admitted to UC-Davis.
According to the Bee, hospitals in the Sacramento region "are already feeling the impact of the planned strike" and are anticipating larger patient loads. Ambulance dispatchers have begun limiting ambulances to UC-Davis (Sacramento Bee, 7/19).