SEIU: Mercy’s Visitor Policy Puts Workers and Patients at Risk for COVID-19

Union Leaders: Mercy’s Visitor Policy Puts Workers and Patients at Risk for COVID-19

Mercy Health Partner’s one-visitor policy goes against Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Union healthcare leaders are criticizing Mercy Health Partners for putting healthcare workers and patients at risk by ignoring Governor Gretchen’s Whitmer’s executive order for health systems. This week, the Governor released an executive order to prohibit visitations at hospitals in Michigan, unless these visits are absolutely necessary. The order states: 

Under Executive Order 2020-6, beginning Saturday, March 14 at 9:00am all health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities must prohibit any visitors that are not necessary for medical care, support of activities of daily living like bathing or eating, or that are not visiting under exigent circumstances

Mercy Health Partners has decided to maintain a one-visitor policy despite the Executive Order. 

“Our healthcare workers are outraged that Mercy Health Partners is choosing to ignore the Governor’s Executive Order,” said Andrea Acevedo, President of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, “This reckless decision puts all healthcare workers, patients and visitors at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.” 

SEIU Healthcare Michigan represents over 1,400 frontline healthcare workers and caregivers at Mercy and Hackley Hospitals, including registered nurses, ED techs, med techs, service and maintenance workers. Union leaders say they have contacted Mercy Health Partner’s administrators multiple times to express their concerns. 

“We have contacted Mercy Health Partners repeatedly, pleading with them to adopt the Governor’s recommendations for visitors,” said Acevedo, “ Other health systems in Michigan are following the Governor’s recommendations, why won’t Mercy do the right thing for their workers and patients?” 

Visitors entering Mercy facilities may be asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19, putting healthcare workers and patients at risk. Conversely, visitors are also at risk to contract COVID-19 by interacting with healthcare workers and patients in the facility that may be exposed to it. 

“As communities are being asked to implement social distancing practices, Mercy’s policies fly in the face of public health recommendations,” said Acevedo. 

Health professionals expect cases of COVID-19 to multiply exponentially over the next few weeks, consequently pushing hospital capacity to the limit. SEIU Healthcare Michigan is leading the way by advocating for healthcare workers and patient safety in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“We are here to represent the concerns of every healthcare worker in Michigan.” said Acevedo, “If you suspect your facility is not taking COVID-19 seriously, we want to know about it.”

SEIU Healthcare Michigan has set-up an email for workers to address concerns at workersafety@seiuhealthcaremi.org

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