Responding to growing condemnation by RNs and patient advocates, representatives of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Administration stood shoulder to shoulder with officials of the California hospital and nursing home industry Monday afternoon to defend their attack on the patient ratio law.
In a Sacramento press conference the industry executives and state officials praised the governor’s executive order while offering little new justification for undermining the landmark patient safety law.
But even reporters attending the press conference noted the coincidence of the timing – two days before some 2,000 RNs are expected to arrive on the Capitol steps by bus, plane, train, and car from across California in a major public protest.
Among those speaking at the press conference were Joel Geiderman, co-chair of the ER at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Michael Ubaldi, representing Catholic Healthcare West hospitals.
Geiderman sharply attacked the ratio law and claimed that patients were “safer before” the advent of RN ratios. Ubaldi said that CHW supported the governor’s decision and said it was “a prudent move” to delay improved staffing for three full years until another study is done.
“This press conference was another attempt to justify the unjustifiable – eroding patient safety and calling for under staffing of hospitals,” said CNA President Deborah Burger, RN.
Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Granada Hills) described CNA and RNs as a “special interest” for criticizing the governor’s order, a statement that Burger called “especially ironic considering the governor has collected over million in contributions in his first year in office, much of it from the hospital, pharmaceutical, and insurance industry.”
“RNs do have a special interest – our patients,” Burger said.
“The press conference today shows that the governor and his allies are unhappy with the public reaction to their decision to undermine patient safety,” said Burger. “That should be a message – we need to step up the protest.”