[Dec. 19, 2017] POMONA, Calif. – Healthcare workers filed a municipal ballot initiative today for the November 2018 election that would improve patient care at hospitals in the City of Pomona, Calif. by increasing hours for housekeeping staff until the number of hospital-acquired infections is reduced.
“For three years in a row, more and more patients at Pomona Valley Hospital have been exposed to potentially life-threatening infections at the facility,” said Danny Hernandez, a housekeeper at Pomona Valley Hospital. “The goal of this ballot initiative is to hold hospitals accountable and make sure they spend their money on improving patient care and fighting dangerous outbreaks.”
The ballot initiative would affect Casa Colina Hospital and Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. If either facility’s rates for two hospital-acquired infections are worse than the national standard, they would be required to increase housekeeping staff hours by 20 percent until the hospital meets national benchmarks for three continuous years. To retain quality employees, the ballot measure would also increase the hospitals’ minimum wage to $18 an hour in January 2019.
Organizers need to collect the signatures of approximately 6,458 registered Pomona voters to qualify the measure for the Nov. 6, 2018 election.
From Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2016, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center reported 122 cases of patients acquiring Clostridium difficile (C. diff.), a contagious infection that causes severe diarrhea, fever and nausea. Pomona Valley Hospital reported 97 such infections in 2015, and 82 cases in 2014. As a result, Pomona Valley Hospital was worse than the national standard in preventing patients from acquiring C. diff infections for three years in a row, raising concerns about hospital executives’ failure to address the problem. Data from Casa Colina Hospital is not publicly available.
Pomona Valley Hospital workers have previously raised concerns with management regarding a lack of training and staffing that they believe contributed to patient infections, and affect their own safety. More than 1,100 employees at Pomona Valley Hospital are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW).