NLRB seeks survey on Fatima Hospital’s medical device maintenance

PROVIDENCE — The National Labor Relations Board is suing Prospect CharterCARE LLC, a joint venture between Prospect Medical Holdings and CharterCARE Health Partners, for the results of a survey conducted at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital about care and maintenance of operating-room surgical instruments.

The suit, filed March 27, was announced Tuesday by the United Nurses and Allied Professionals, Local 5110, which filed a complaint with the NLRB in May 2017 seeking the results of the survey conducted by Aesculap USA for CharterCARE.

The union alleges an executive summary of the results shows surgical instruments at Fatima were found contaminated with foreign material, corroded, broken, bent and posing risks to patient safety.

UNAP general counsel Chris Callaci said he was initially able to view the executive summary online but it was removed shortly after he called Fatima to ask questions about it. However, he was able to go to the hospital to view the summary in person but was not allowed to make a copy of it.

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“While I was looking at it I realized the gravity of it,” Callaci said.

The NLRB seeks the entire Aesculap survey in its suit, which also seeks resolution of a second complaint, filed by UNAP in January, seeking access to a survey conducted late last year at Fatima by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The NLRB has agreed UNAP is entitled to the surveys and any documents related to approximately 30 deficiencies discovered as part of the JCAHO survey, Callaci said.

Prospect Medical Holdings took issue with the ruling.

“We respectfully disagree with the regional National Labor Relations Board’s ruling that the United Nurses and Allied Professionals labor union should be given access to these purely internal documents,”said Bill Fischer, spokesman for Prospect Medical Holdings. We will be appealing their decision and remain confident that the ruling will be overturned.”

Fischer said Fatima Hospital was recently awarded accreditation for three years from The Joint Commission following a December survey.

“You simply cannot achieve this accreditation if you don’t have the highest standards of quality in place,” Fischer said.

“This lawsuit speaks to the heart of the problem,” said Callaci. “Prospect simply cannot be trusted. As this California for-profit seeks to join forces with Brown University to dismantle Care New England and increase its foothold in Rhode Island, it simultaneously has been working to cover up important information that patients and health care professionals have the right to know. It begs the question: What else is Prospect hiding?”

Fisher said a Partners acquisition of Care New England would mean a loss of jobs, a loss of local hospital services and a loss of local control.

“It is confusing, at best, why UNAP continues to question a solution that will preserve and protect thousands of health care jobs in Rhode Island versus a Boston-based acquisition of Care New England that would make our second-largest hospital system a satellite of Boston’s largest hospital system,” Fischer said.

“Memorial Hospital has already closed as a likely result of the proposed Partners acquisition of Care New England. How did this closure benefit UNAP members?” he added.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.