Greater Lansing home care nurses push back against McLaren

Nurses union calls for additional protections amid COVID-19 pandemic  


FRIDAY, April 10 — The Michigan Nurses Association has called for reforms by McLaren Home Care Greater Lansing after alleging that corporate officials are “failing to work adequately with registered nurses” on a COVID-19 response plan. 

The association asked Home Care Greater Lansing — among other McLaren facilities — for additional protections for vulnerable nurses, full paid time off for those exposed to coronavirus and assistance for laid-off employees. 

And so far, nurses haven’t made much progress with corporate officials, union officials said. 

“Nurses are on the frontlines risking our lives and McLaren needs to work with us on ways to protect us so we can protect the public,” said Tom Hall, nurse and president of the Lapeer RN Staff Council. “McLaren should be collaborating with nurses, not abandoning us. The McLaren corporation can afford to provide protections nurses need — they just refuse to.” 

A spokeswoman for the state nursing association said that the plea for help includes about 18 nurses in the Greater Lansing area, although none are directly employed at the McLaren Greater Lansing hospital. The association is the largest union of nurses across Michigan, officials said. 

Some private health corporations in Ingham County — but not McLaren — have made written guarantees to provide paid time off to every nurse who contracts COVID-19 and other benefits that will protect employees as they work to protect the public, union officials said. 

“Home-care nurses should not be overlooked in this crisis. We are also vulnerable,” Michelle Munson-McCorry, a nurse at McLaren Home Health Care, said in a release. “We go, often sight unseen, into the homes of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.” 

A spokeswoman for McLaren Health Care said officials have been working directly with the union for weeks to address the issues that have been raised, even before proposals were made. 

Here is McLaren’s full statement on the matter: 

McLaren Health Care system has proactively created a COVID-19 response plan. This plan is in place and has been shared with the unions across our healthcare system, in addition to MNA.  We have been working with MNA at four different McLaren Health Care locations during the COVID-19 national and state emergency.   McLaren’s employee safety is paramount.  We follow the CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE), employee safety and patient care.  Despite that the CDC permits employees with high risks to care for patients if they use the proper PPE, we are doing everything we can to keep employees safe.  We have established an accommodation process to ensure that those with high risks can be provided alternate work assignments or accommodations, where appropriate.  We are committed to taking care of our employees who take care of our patients.  We have adjusted our Paid Time Off program to provide flexibility and PTO hours needed for employees who cannot work during this crisis, as well as payment under worker’s disability compensation and McLaren benefit program to ensure that they are fully compensated for any lost time due to work place exposure. 

We have met with MNA on multiple occasions over the last three weeks to address those issues and worked together through McLaren’s COVID-19 response plan.  This is an evolving crisis that requires us to be flexible and responsive to many daily changes.  With the rising number of cases in Michigan, we continue to leverage the size and strength of McLaren as a system to procure additional personal protective equipment, as well as utilize the emergency management resources of our system.  We will continue to work proactively with our staff and union partners to ensure that our staff are safe, continue to have the resources to care for patients and are informed about our response plan throughout this crisis.” 


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