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Health Professionals Call on State Officials to Investigate WCMH Patient Care Crisis

Union leaders made the following public statements after submitting a formal letter to the state's Department of Public Health:

Willimantic - The presidents of three local healthcare and nurses unions are calling on the state's Department of Public Health to investigate the continued patient care crisis in eastern Connecticut. Two of the three floors at Windham Community Memorial Hospital (WCMH) remain closed for more that a week since the nurses' strike on September 22nd. The closure has added risk to both patients and healthcare professionals in the region. Patients who could normally be cared for at WCMH are being transferred to other Hartford HealthCare (HHC)-owned facilities, and patients who would normally be sent to Windham are being held for long periods of time in neighboring emergency departments (ED).

Click here to read the full letter. 

Sherri Dayton, RN, President of the Backus Federation of Nurses said, "By keeping these floors closed, the emergency departments in Norwich and Plainfield are being overrun. Patients are being held in hallways, some for longer than 24 hours," added Dayton, a registered nurse at the Plainfield ED.

"While these units remain closed, my members nurses are having their shifts canceled," said Andrea Riley, RN, President of the Windham Federation of Professional Nurses. "Meanwhile, nurses at our sister hospital in Norwich are being mandated to stay for overtime with unsafe staffing ratios, a dangerous combination for both the patients and the nurses," added Riley, a registered nurse in the ED.

Heather Howlett, CA, President of WCMH United Employees said, "Our first priority is to our patients, and that is why we are asking the state's Department of Public Health to use every legal means at their disposal to encourage Hartford HealthCare to reopen these floors to the community," added Howlett, a clinical assistant at WCMH.

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The Hartford HealthCare Organization of Professional Employees coalition (HOPE) includes AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions representing nurses and health professionals employed at Hartford HealthCare-owned hospitals and facilities across the state. Its collective membership is committed, in solidarity, to providing the highest quality care to families and their community.

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