GREENFIELD, Mass (WWLP) - As many as 13 employees at Baystate Franklin Medical Center-mainly registered nurses- are subject to reductions or re-organization.
BFMC says it's a consolidation that they knew was coming, mainly due to patients staying shorter periods of time, but the Massachusetts Nurses Association says that the issue has been ongoing as services and resources dwindle.
Baystate Franklin Medical Center officially told the MNA that it needed to reduce the hospital's medical-surgical nursing staff by as many as nine registered nurses Thursday.
BFMC says 10 RNs, two clerks, and one manager of Clinical Information Systems are being affected by the reduction of staff, but the hospital says those employees will be given options.
Nine of the registered nurses deal only in Medical Surgical units-taking care of patients overnight.
All of the nurses involved may re-bid for positions depending on seniority. An early retirement package will also be presented to the MNA to be available to those that qualify, according to a BFMC press release.
The roles of one additional staff nurse and one non-union manager in the Clinical Information Systems department are being redesigned. The two clerks will be offered to cross train as nurse aids.
President of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Chuck Gijanto said, "The issue is we have more nurses than we have beds to fill and as a result- irregardless of the negotiations- there's just too many nurses for the patients that we're treating."
And while the hospital says they're overstaffed the Massachusetts Nurses Association says that's because there has been a shift in routine services and procedures forcing Franklin County residents to travel down to Springfield for care.
BFMC insists that it's false speculation and services are not moving to Springfield. They claim last year patients were staying an average of 3.4 days and now they're staying 2.4 days, which they largely attribute to the way they have changed management and outpatient treatment.
With patients staying less they have had to cancel nurses' shifts and many nurses have now reached the maximum number of cancellations allowed by their contract, according to the press release.
Liz Adams told 22News she used to live in New York City and had been accustomed to having the best healthcare readily available. So when she moved to Greenfield three years ago she took the healthcare at BFMC into deep consideration.
"I am a little concerned because I consider that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. They're far more accessible than doctors and they do a huge amount of the work and are really important."
It will be a process of 18 days as those employees must either, choose open vacancies with the organization, bump into other nursing positions, take the training opportunities for restructured positions, or choose an early retirement plan.