Healthcare heroes need protections, too
Safe workplaces, secure income, and access to healthcare
NUHW is committed to making sure our members can safely care for our patients and provide for our families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many NUHW members are confronting a desperate shortage of protective equipment; facing the loss of shifts as elective procedures and other services are cancelled or reduced; and struggling to do our jobs while caring for children whose schools and childcare facilities are closed.
Here’s what we’re doing:
- NUHW has authored a COVID-19 Testing Policy Proposal, providing guidance for a system to be implemented in California’s inpatient healthcare facilities and home health agencies based on the testing system already established for skilled nursing facilities per the California Department of Public Health.
- In a Sacramento Bee op-ed, NUHW President Sal Rosselli called on state leaders to mandate regular COVID-19 testing for all healthcare workers at hospitals, correctional facilities, and home health agencies, as well as for all newly-admitted patients.
- NUHW has released the Patient-Centered Mental Health Response for the COVID-19 Pandemic, defining six recommendations for addressing issues that keep people from getting the mental healthcare they need during the pandemic.
- NUHW has produced a COVID-19 Healthcare Workers Bill of Rights and accompanying comprehensive policy document (English, Spanish) to identify and advocate for policies that will keep healthcare workers safe now and during future pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic will end at some point, but the work of building a sustainable, high-functioning healthcare system that prioritizes patient care and protects the health and well-being of caregivers is just getting underway.
- We’ve convened regular meetings with employers to quickly address problems affecting the health, safety and finances of our members. At multiple facilities, we’ve won expanded use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NUHW members. Hospitals have instituted comprehensive screening of patients, visitors and staff in order to minimize the risk of infection. At Kaiser Permanente, executives agreed to begin allowing clinicians to perform regular mental health appointments from their homes using telemedicine and to transition to performing remote assessments of emergency room patients who require psychiatric evaluations.
- We’re working with experts to establish best practices for keeping NUHW members safe on the job and to create model policies for providing additional paid time to care for our families. And, we’re pushing all employers to adopt them. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital has agreed to provide 128 hours of additional paid administrative time for workers.
- We’re demanding that all employers ensure that NUHW members have access to COVID-19 tests as soon as practical. Seton Medical Center has committed to provide expedited testing with results available within an hour.
- We’re marshalling NUHW’s resources to respond to this crisis. Our staff are fully focused on protecting the safety and well-being of NUHW members during the COVID-19 pandemic.