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Some surgeries postponed ahead of possible hospital strike

Some surgeries postponed ahead of possible hospital strike
Some surgeries postponed ahead of possible hospital strike(wsaz)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Several patients have been notified during the last week that their procedures and surgeries are either being postponed or moved to another hospital ahead of a potential strike at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

The following statement was provided by Cabell Huntington Hospital’s director of Human Resources, Molly Frick:

“The SEIU/1199 Service workers union contract is scheduled to expire at midnight, Nov. 2. Last week, the bargaining unit provided notice of its intention to strike should an agreement not be reached. While we continue to negotiate the contract with the goal of reaching an agreement, out of an abundance of caution Cabell Huntington Hospital has temporarily postponed some elective surgeries. The hospital will re-evaluate the circumstances and work with patients to get them rescheduled as quickly as possible. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our patients.”

A few patients who have reached out to WSAZ say they were told their surgery would instead be happening at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

More than 1,000 union workers represented by SEIU 1199 at Cabell Huntington Hospital say a strike could start by Nov. 3 if a deal isn’t reached by then.

“As hospital workers, we are concerned about the future of care and services in our community,” said Yvonne Brooks, who has worked at Cabell Huntington Hospital for more than 37 years. “We remain committed to sitting down with Cabell executives and negotiating a contract that protects patient care and ensures that workers and their families in our community have the job security and health care we have earned.”

Negotiations continued Monday, which have been ongoing for months after SEIU District 1199 members of the bargaining unit overwhelmingly rejected the hospitals offer this past Friday.

Mountain Health Network has also extended the deadline for its employee COVID-19 vaccine deadline, although no new date for compliance was mentioned.

Below is a statement from Susan Beth Robinson, chief human resources officer:

“As part of its commitment to the health care of the community, as well as the safety of patients and employees, Mountain Health Network (MHN) announced in August it would require its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as part of our COVID-19 Prevention Program. Due to the positive response by our employees to the program and the excellent progress they have shown in taking this important step for the community’s safety, we are extending our Oct. 31 compliance deadline. This will allow additional time for staff who have obtained their first shot to become fully vaccinated and take advantage of the added protection the COVID-19 vaccine provides for themselves and others.

“This extension also keeps us in line with other health systems across the state who have postponed the enforcement of their vaccine requirements, as we await further guidance on both the state and federal level. The compliance deadline will be evaluated as this guidance is provided.

“We continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as it is safe and effective at preventing severe illness and death, as well as reducing the spread of the virus.”

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