Kern Medical workers protest staffing shortages, finances at Bakersfield hospital
Read the transcript for this report below.
ALEX BURKE, HOST: Workers from Kern Medical Center protested outside the Bakersfield hospital today. KVPR’s Joshua Yeager reports nurses say a critical staffing shortage is impacting patient care.
JOSHUA YEAGER: The boardroom at the Kern County Hospital Authority was nearly full as employees voiced concerns about working conditions and alleged retaliation. The hospital authority oversees Kern Medical. Christopher Ogden-Harkins is a clinical nurse leader and S-E-I-U Local 521 member.
CHRISTOPHER OGDEN-HARKINS: For the six week period from the last week of April through May, there’s 117 open nursing shifts in the ER that need to be covered just to be at the appropriate staffing level.
YEAGER: The union alleges the authority overpaid two contracting firms who help manage the hospital… The union argues that money could have been used to recruit much-needed staff. Hospital leaders later went into closed session. A board member did not immediately return KVPR’s request for comment. The concerns at Kern Medical are the latest in a series of hospital issues in the San Joaquin Valley – with Madera County’s only hospital closed, and Visalia’s Kaweah Health struggling with finances. For KVPR News, I'm Joshua Yeager.