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Hospitals, Home Nurse Services Prepare For Possible Strike

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TWC News: Hospitals, Home Nurse Services Prepare For Possible Strike
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While emergency medical personnel with proper ID will not have to abide by HOV regulations during their commute, there are concerns about other hospital workers in the event of a strike.

Montifiore, along with Jacobi Medical Center, is working with other Bronx hospitals to use shuttle buses and vans to try to get staff to the various hospitals where they work. Both hospitals already use shuttles on a daily basis, but that service will have to be increased. In addition, the hospital said it plans to rent charter buses if necessary.

“We are a 24/7 operation at two hospitals,” said Elaine Brennan, the senior vice president of operations at Montefiore Hospital. “It is very important to have our employees here to care for those patients. We are building our plans around that to get the people to work.”

Hospitals and medical providers employ 25 percent of the people who work in the Bronx. Montefiore is the largest employer, with 11,000 workers, 65 percent of whom live in the borough.

“In health care, we are the major employer in the Bronx,” said Joseph Orlando, the senior vice president of Jacobi Hospital. “And many of our people live and work in the Bronx. We do have a couple of vans that will go to Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.”

If there is a strike, Montifiore is asking its employees to carpool to help out. But unlike City Hall, hospital officials are not encouraging its workers to pick up strangers.

“Allowing a stranger into your vehicle to get from one place to the other, I still don't think I would recommend,” said Montefiore security director Peter Kennelly. “I don't criticize anyone else, but for our associates, I will say do it with another associate or someone who you are familiar with.”

Hospital officials admit if transit workers walk, it will take some time to figure out exactly how many employees will need the shuttle service.

Meanwhile, groups that care for the city's seniors are also preparing for a possible strike.

The visiting nurse service of New York, which cares for about 24,000 area seniors, will have around-the-clock care for high-risk patients if there's a walkout. The service has also booked hotel rooms so nurses will be closer to other patients.

Still, the agency's vice president, Nancy Camillieri, suggests that all seniors start making their own preparations.

“They should check their medications; it's very important that they have at least a week's worth of medication available to them,” Camillieri said. “If not, then they should have their prescriptions refilled so that they have what they need.”

The visiting nurse service also recommends that seniors check medical equipment, like oxygen tanks, to make sure they are working properly. The group also suggests seniors stock up on a weeks worth of groceries, rechedule non-urgent appointments and, if they have to go out, do it during non-rush hours.
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