800 Nurses Gather For Protest Over Ongoing Pandemic, Staff Shortages

Emily Elconin/via Reuters

Heather Edwards Contributor
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Close to 800 nurses walked off the job at St. Mary Medical Center to protest staffing shortages on Tuesday, the New York Post reported.

Nurses from the hospital located in Langhorne, near Philadelphia, were protesting what they claim is a serious staffing shortage, and which they fear will only get worse as flu season progresses, according to the New York Post.

Medical personal is seen at UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica, on April 13, 2020(Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Some of the nurses claim they are tasked with more patients than they handle during their shift, caring for sometimes twice the normal load of 3 or 4 patients. Several hundred nurses have left St. Mary in the past two years to work in nearby facilities that pay more and offer better benefits.

Trinity Health, which owns St. Mary Medical Center, offered a “very competitive” compensation package to the nurses union earlier this month, which they rejected, instead choosing to walk off the job while the country is in the middle of a coronavirus surge, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier this year more than 160 economists sent a letter to President Trump and federal government leaders, citing their opposition to price-setting features that were proposed as a response to the pandemic. They argued that price-fixing often results in shortages and distortions in the market regardless of the policy area. (RELATED: Lawmakers Push For Government Price Controls For Medical Services Amid Coronavirus Crises)

Segments of existing government-run healthcare programs have for some time used price controls, such as Medicaid’s drug rebate and the VA drug benefit, resulting in distortions in the market.

Ken Cuccinelli, former Virginia Attorney General, argued that price controls disadvantage healthcare workers and lead to shortages, and lowers the overall quality of care.

In a nationwide survey of 15,000 nurses, approximately 42% of nurses said that staffing in their facilities had gotten “slightly or much worse recently,” reported Business Insider.