Nurses at Desert Regional Medical Center rollout new billboard campaign as video emerges highlighting safety concerns

DRMC Nurses Roll Out Billboard Campaign PALM SPRINGS —Registered nurses at Desert Regional Medical Center are rolling out a new billboard campaign as two new videos reveal serious health and safety concerns at the Tenet Healthcare hospital, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) announced.

In the videos taken on Feb. 2, one shows extensive leaking in the neurological intensive care unit and the other shows an infestation of cockroaches in the emergency department’s break room.

“We hope that these videos help the public see what we see every day at the Desert Regional Medical Center — that Tenet Healthcare is not living up to its promises to maintain our hospital but instead allows pests and disrepair to cause daily safety concerns for staff and patients,” said Cyd Greenhorn, ICU RN. “A hospital should be a hygienic place of healing, but instead we have rats and cockroaches in our units. The persistent leaks cause hazards and puts a unit’s viability in jeopardy. Tenet is asking to renew, or even buy our hospital, but we nurses say, Tenet needs to fix the problems now!”

On Feb. 26, the first of two billboards featuring two Desert Regional registered nurses will be unveiled in Palm Springs — on Route 111 just south of where it intersects the I-10 freeway as you enter Palm Springs from the Morongo Reservation. The second billboard is scheduled to go up on March 5 at the intersection of Vista Chino Road and Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs.

Nurses say they hope the billboard raises public awareness about the issues at the hospital and inspires the community to get involved in planning for its future.

“We are concerned that many in the public may not be aware that Desert Regional is a public asset that is governed by an elected district board and that Tenet Healthcare is a private company that leases and runs the hospital,” said Deb Edwards, RN in the neonatal ICU. “We want to make sure that the public knows they are the true owners of the hospital and as such have a right to make decisions about who runs the hospital and what happens to it in the future.”

Tenet Healthcare is one of the largest health care companies in the country and is valued at $8.9 billion. Tenet raked in over $1.3 billion in 2023. Last year, Tenet proposed an extension of its current lease with an option to buy at the end of the lease term. This current lease agreement ends in 2027.

Nurses raise red flags over Tenet practices at Desert Regional

Nurses note Tenet has a long-standing practice of short-staffing Desert Regional. This has led to many significant patient safety issues including:

  • In 2022, Desert Regional was fined by CMS for an excess of Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs), one of less than 15 percent of hospitals nationwide to face such penalties. These hospital-acquired conditions include post-surgical infections, pressure sores, falls, and other issues. These conditions can be associated with inadequate staffing that makes it difficult or impossible for nurses to turn patients regularly, help them get out of bed to exercise or go to the restroom, or devote the optimal time to wound and surgical site care.
  • Desert Regional has a dismal two-star rating, out of five, on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Hospital Compare website. CMS determines the overall rating by summarizing a variety of measures on common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks or pneumonia. Desert Regional has consistently received below-average ratings on Hospital Compare since the site was launched in 2015.
  • Notably, Desert Regional measured well below the California average of patients who   received appropriate care for sepsis. Desert Regional measured 39 percent while the California average was 65 percent.
  • Desert Regional also fell well below the California average for patients who received appropriate recommendations for follow-up care screening for a colonoscopy. Desert Regional measured 50 percent, while the California average was 89%.

“Nurses see daily how Tenet’s failure to appropriately invest in staff and our infrastructure degrades the care our patients get,” said Caroline Ng’ang’a, RN in the ICU. “We are calling on Tenet to do better and honor its commitment to our community so we can provide everyone the highest quality of care possible.”

CNA represents more than 850 nurses at Desert Regional Medical Center.

 

 

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