SPRINGFIELD, Mass., April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Nurses with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and community members will speak out during a rally on Thursday, April 22 about the impact of Trinity Health’s sale of Providence Behavioral Health Hospital to the for-profit company Health Partners New England on the quality of patient care and working conditions, as well as community access to mental healthcare.
Speak Out Rally Details
When: Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Outside Providence Hospital at 1233 Main St. in Holyoke.
Who: Nurses, elected officials, community and patient family members.
How: Attendees will don masks and maintain responsible social distances as they rally and share their concerns and experiences.
Trinity, which also owns Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, sold Providence Hospital to Health Partners New England in February. The sale impacted approximately 40 nurses represented by the MNA and 60 members of United Auto Workers Local 2322. Nurses have expressed concerns about the quality and safety of working and patient care conditions under a new, for-profit owner. Health Partners New England has refused to honor the nurses’ union contract and does not have the same obligation to provide equal access to care to all patients as a non-profit organization.
“This takeover of Providence Hospital by a for-profit company raises serious concerns about mental healthcare access and patient care quality in our community,” said Marilyn Hernandez, RN, MNA Co-Chair at PBHH and Holyoke resident. “We are worried patients will be turned away because they are not profitable for the company. We also fear that without union protection staff will not feel safe speaking up when they see patient or workplace safety problems.”
Among the questions nurses and others have raised:
- How will changing from a non-profit owning Providence to a for-profit affect the ability of all behavioral health patients in the region to access the specialized care they need?
- What does this mean for admissions of patients who use Medicare or Medicaid or who do not have insurance?
- How will losing union protection to speak up affect workers’ ability to ensure patient and staff safety?
- How will patient care quality be affected by a company driven by its bottom line rather than a mission to provide the best possible care to all members of the community?
- Health Partners New England said it expects an incentive from the state worth millions of dollars (up to $150,000 per bed). What role did the state have in facilitating this sale and what was the timing, especially considering Trinity Health closed 74 child and adult mental health beds less than one year ago, citing a lack of available psychiatrists and a drop in census. MNA nurses and others disputed those assertions during a DPH hearing on the closure. The DPH later deemed the beds an essential service but they closed anyway.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.
SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association