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Picketing Nurses In Berkeley Take Aim At Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Job Cuts

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BERKELEY (KCBS)— More than 100 nurses picketed outside Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Wednesday in Berkeley in opposition to Sutter Health Corporation’s plans to cut hundreds of positions at two East Bay facilities.

The picketing, which lasted about two hours, followed last week’s announcement that Sutter was cutting more than 350 positions in Berkeley and Oakland as well as closing a skilled nursing facility and oncology unit.

“We’re short-staffed every night. We never have enough nurses to cover the patients that we’re trying to take care of,” said Mike Hill, a registered nurse at the ICU at Alta Bates in Oakland.

Ann Gabler has worked in the Berkeley hospital’s neonatal ICU for the last 32 years.

“The concern is who’s going to take care of the patients. Just like any situation when you have less people doing more work, what happens to the quality of that work?”

Sutter Health Spokesperson Carolyn Kemp said with fewer people staying over night in hospitals and declining reimbursements, they’re forced to make these changes to survive.

“We have to get ourselves back on financial footing. We are hemorrhaging money. We are not financially stable right now and we need to right size that so that we can stay here,” Kemp said.

(Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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