Employees protest lack of hiring at Hudson hospital
Andrea Macko reports for Porcupine Soup that Columbia Memorial Health employees again made a point about the hospital's staff shortages with a protest in Hudson on Sept. 1. Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson and state Senator Michelle Hinchey joined hospital union employees asking for hiring more staff. “It’s not unusual to hear the term staffing shortages in today’s healthcare world. What is unusual here in Hudson at our local hospital is that units and clinics have had to close for a day or days due to no staff,” said Kim Gibson, a union organizer with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, who said that there are currently 328 open positions at the hospital and its offsites. “That is a large portion of the workforce,” she said. Last month New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to the hospital with a similar message. “Due to low wages and high turnover, CMH is operating at a staff vacancy of more than 200 bargaining unit members,” Gillibrand wrote. “This extreme understaffing has caused the closure of beds and clinics, decreasing the availability of the already limited health care services in the area.” CMH President and CEO Jay P. Cahalan agreed that "there is a shortage of health care workers" but said the hospital is not to blame. “The union will attempt to identify this shortage as a local issue, but we know and can demonstrate that it is a national issue and one that is especially acute in upstate New York hospitals,” Cahalan said. Read the full story at Porcupine Soup.