Hospital releases contingency plan for one-day strike
GREENFIELD — With a one-day nurses strike still planned for Friday, Baystate Franklin Medical Center administrators have prepared a contingency plan to operate the hospital that day.
During the strike, which is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m., the hospital will keep many of the departments open — using nurses who have elected to cross the picket line and those from other hospitals in the Baystate Health system, officials said Wednesday.
“We have been working diligently to ensure that patients are cared for by highly qualified, competent staff throughout the strike period,” said Deborah Palmeri, the hospital’s chief nursing officer. “We have been heartened by the tremendous outpouring of support from our nursing colleagues throughout Baystate Health.”
The hospital did not release the number of nurses who will be on staff Friday, but officials said that it will be enough to adequately staff many departments throughout the day. During a normal weekday of operation, about 40 nurses work during the day and about 25 work at night.
The only department that will be completely closed Friday is the hospital’s intensive care unit, because the hospital cannot adequately staff it. If there are ICU patients Friday they will be transferred to other hospitals.
The emergency department, medical-surgical inpatient units, “The Birthplace” and all ancillary service departments — cardiopulmonary, laboratory, partial hospitalization, radiology/imaging and rehabilitation — will remain fully operational.
The surgery and endoscopy services will be limited to emergencies only, officials said. Outpatient oncology will be opened on a limited basis.
And the mental health unit stopped accepting new patients earlier this week and transferred those with emergencies to other hospitals.
Police officers on site
Officials said that police officers will be posted throughout the hospital building and grounds Friday to ensure patient safety.
Chuck Gijanto, who is BFMC’s chief administrator, said that nurses have assured the hospital that “the picket line will be peaceable and that those walking it will be respectful.”
But it remains unclear who will be joining them on the line, he said.
“We anticipate they will be joined by other union members from the (Massachusetts Nurses Association) convention which is happening in Springfield this week, and area trade unions may also send representatives, as they did to the informational picketing in August and during the strike authorization vote,” said Gijanto.
“Since we don’t know who will be here, or how many people may be participating in the picketing, we are simply preparing to address any problems that may arise,” he said.
Nurses said Wednesday that they, and anyone who joins them, will act professionally on the picket line.
The cafeteria will remain open Friday, although the gift shop will be closed.
The Beacon Street parking area will be closed Friday, officials said.
Patients and visitors can use the lot in front of the hospital on High Street or the one to the side on Sanderson Street.
Emergency patients and family can park in the lot directly outside the emergency entrance.
All services offered at the 48 Sanderson St. medical office building will remain open Friday. Those who have appointments in that building should use the facility’s lot and enter through the main entrance to the side.
Chris Shores can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261 x264