A meeting of the 1199 Service Employees International Union, representing the nurses and residents of Bay Park Nursing Home began with a prayer for change.
The former Hebrew Home Hospital was sold on July 1, 2007, turning the non-profit care facility into the profit-driven Bay Park.
“For over 30 years, Hebrew Hospital was a place that strived for excellence. That ended July 1, 2007 when Bay Park came into the picture,” stated Icy Beazey, adietician for over 20 years, and a resident of Co-op City for over 10.
The nurses and staff are taking the first step in dealing with labor issues against the new operators.
“The new owners don’t care about quality or striving for excellence, all they care about is growth of their dollars on the backs of our employees and residents,” explains the 17-year Hebrew Home worker, Beazey.
In an effort to save money, Bay Park allegedly has been cutting staff shifts, leaving up to 40 residents in the care of very few nurses and staff.
“Patients are getting injured because there is not enough staff in each unit. The work is still getting done but not with the quality it should. We are overworked and frustrated,” explains 1199 union member Alastasia Thomas.
According to Alexis Hyton, a CNA at Bay Park, the nutritious, quality meals and snacks provided by the previous owners, have been replaced by poor quality food, that patient’s complained is often stale. Generic snacks are served not taking into consideration a patient’s condition, such as a diabetic being offered donuts without thoughts of repercussion.
The machines and merchandise within the home have also shown the burden of Bay Park’s lack of concern according to Hayton. “The machinery here is old, air conditions are blowing hot air in the summer months. They are making our job and the ability to give care twice as hard.”
Staff members report the poor quality of basic supplies such as gloves, leaving no protection for both patients and employees.
Other supplies are not kept properly restocked, and quite often basic-need items, such a cream, can’t be found.
“Hebrew made the number one factor patient care, that’s not it anymore, instead it goes to the dollar,” explains union member Jeanette Fitzgerald. “At night our residents are hungry and we have nothing good to give them, I have to bring my own stuff from home.”
Senator Ruth Thompson was also present at the meeting to share her sympathy and support for their circumstances. “This is a difficult time and we are all in this together. As I age every year I am concerned about how my health care will be. There is a drive here and in me to make sure we run our homes with proper staff and safe facilities.”
The new owners of Bay Park were not available to respond to the charges at press time.
©2008 Community News Group