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Healthcare workers unions warn that the state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick

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file photo Healthcare workers unions are sounding the alarm on a potential crisis in Washington hospitals, and they say without immediate and impactful action to retain and attract critical workers the state’s health care system could face an unprecedented collapse in capacity and care.

Hospitals across the state have warned of massive staffing shortfalls and collapses in capacity. Now the Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, and UFCW 21, who collectively represent 71,000 nurses and other healthcare workers, are urging hospitals to use the tools they have available to mitigate this crisis by retaining and adequately compensating current staff and filling under-staffed departments to ensure patient safety and access to care.

“Amid a fifth wave of COVID, spurred on by the Delta variant, and hospitals overflowing with patients who need critical care, our state health care workers continue to heroically perform their jobs a year-and-a-half into this pandemic,” said Julia Barcott, chair of the WSNA Cabinet and an ICU nurse at Astria Toppenish Hospital. Barcott wrote that healthcare providers are losing overworked nurses to overwhelming burnout, the distress of working short-staffed, and to better-paying traveler nurse jobs and even for signing bonuses of up to $20,000 to move to a […]

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