Healthcare Workers Submit Signatures to Qualify Ballot Initiative to Reduce Patient Infections in Pomona Hospitals

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[June 8, 2018] POMONA, Calif. – Healthcare workers submitted 8,845 signatures to city election officials to qualify a ballot initiative for the Nov. 6 election in Pomona that seeks to reduce patient infections in local hospitals, including one that continues to have poor results and was penalized last year for its record.

We have a patient infection problem at our hospital, no matter what hospital executives keep trying to tell the community,” said Jeanette Castillo a Phlebotomist at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. “Patients and workers shouldn’t have to worry about getting infected when they come in to the building, and now voters can do what’s needed to protect them.”

The ballot initiative would require Pomona Valley Hospital and Casa Colina Hospital to increase housekeeping staffing 20 percent if their hospital-acquired infections are worse than the national standard. To retain quality employees – often those responsible for keeping facilities sanitary – the ballot measure would also increase the minimum wage at those hospitals to $18 an hour in January 2019.

New federal government data released last month shows that patients at Pomona Valley Hospital acquire Clostridium difficile (C. diff.), a contagious infection that causes severe diarrhea, fever and nausea, at levels much higher than the national rate. The new data covers the period from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.

The number of patients acquiring infections at Pomona Valley Hospital has been so high that Medicare penalized it last year, by reducing its Medicare reimbursement rates one percent. From Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2016, Pomona Valley Hospital reported 301 cases of patients acquiring C. diff.

The ballot initiative has been endorsed by several local elected officials and organizations: U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (D-Pomona); Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis; State Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino); Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona); Pomona City Councilmember Robert Torres; the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center; the Latino/a Roundtable of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley; the Labor Council of Latin American Advancement, San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire Chapter; SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU 121RN; and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1428.

Paid for by Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West Political Issues Committee, 560 Thomas L. Berkley Way, Oakland, CA 94612.

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