Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

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Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by stimpy321972 » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:22 am

Background:

I am a nurse in a trauma center in Central Virginia, It is the only trauma center/medical center in the state that is partially funded by the state. We have about 8,000 employee's working for the hospital/medical college and another 1,000 or so contract workers, that do housekeeping and other support type jobs.
We just had a organization wide meeting this a.m., we were told that in line with the state 10-20% budget cuts that are being implemented, that our reimbursement would be "substantially" cut, Read= Layoff's. Initial, estimates are about 2-5% of the workforce should be reduced right now and more to come later "possibly", Read= more to come, soon.
Interesting, because we were told about a month ago that we were one of the "forbbiden" items in regards to reducing budget... because even though our budget/work force gets slashed, if someone/anyone walks or is carried, dragged in, we have to see and treat them, whether they have insurance or not... We have to take patients from other hospitals state that are indigent and cause that particular hospital undue financial hardship.

Not really pertinent to most of you guys/gals because the news is full of companies downsizing everyday and I am sure a lot of you are or will be touched by this "economy" I tend to think along with a lot of the independent news guys; that this economic downturn will get very ugly, very soon.


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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by IllicitDreams » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:01 am

stimpy321972 wrote:Background:

I am a nurse in a trauma center in Central Virginia, It is the only trauma center/medical center in the state that is partially funded by the state. We have about 8,000 employee's working for the hospital/medical college and another 1,000 or so contract workers, that do housekeeping and other support type jobs.
We just had a organization wide meeting this a.m., we were told that in line with the state 10-20% budget cuts that are being implemented, that our reimbursement would be "substantially" cut, Read= Layoff's. Initial, estimates are about 2-5% of the workforce should be reduced right now and more to come later "possibly", Read= more to come, soon.
Interesting, because we were told about a month ago that we were one of the "forbbiden" items in regards to reducing budget... because even though our budget/work force gets slashed, if someone/anyone walks or is carried, dragged in, we have to see and treat them, whether they have insurance or not... We have to take patients from other hospitals state that are indigent and cause that particular hospital undue financial hardship.

Not really pertinent to most of you guys/gals because the news is full of companies downsizing everyday and I am sure a lot of you are or will be touched by this "economy" I tend to think along with a lot of the independent news guys; that this economic downturn will get very ugly, very soon.


My only thoughts to prepare for the SHTF is buy ammo, beans and gold.......
We just went through our second round of cuts at the system I work for. Mostly they eliminated vacant positions, which was a blessing, the rest were made up of retirees, restructuring, and then layoffs.
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by raptor » Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:42 pm

As a trauma nurse I would assume that your skills are and will remain in very strong demand. So for what little bit it is worth, if you are touched by this economy, I suspect any pain you feel will be short lived. However you and your hospital are not alone.

I am aware of hospitals in MS, PA, TX & FL (none in LA of which I am aware) that are laying off and reducing staff and or operations. Some as result of Medicaid/Medicare cutbacks, some simply as a result of cost restructuring.

It is funny but the medical industry is often held up as a recession resistant industry. However they face the same market issues as everyone else.

Today Circuit City announced it is ceasing operations and laying off 30,000 people and ConocoPhillips announced a lay off of 1,300 people. here is a link to an article that lists the 87,000 lost jobs lost so far, note it includes Circuit City but not ConocoPhillips.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/16/news/ec ... 2009011614" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:01 pm

Sorry to hear the economy's hit your business. It's getting rough everywhere. I was talking to a girl in Greece earlier who is about to lose her job because of the economy there. And talked to a friend in Oz the other night about the crap circumstances there. It's like a worldwide financial crash; it's so big that it's difficult to fully comprehend everything that's happening. Plus? Only more worse this year. Joy...

I'm thinking about getting into nursing because it seems like an industry that has a good chance of putting me to work. I got laid off a year and a half ago by the state for budget cuts and there is no work. I've been to the employment agency so often they know me by name. I am about to just say screw it and find a way into a nursing program and go for it... honestly nothing left to lose now!

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by IllicitDreams » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:26 pm

raptor wrote:As a trauma nurse I would assume that your skills are and will remain in very strong demand. So for what little bit it is worth, if you are touched by this economy, I suspect any pain you feel will be short lived. However you and your hospital are not alone.

I am aware of hospitals in MS, PA, TX & FL (none in LA of which I am aware) that are laying off and reducing staff and or operations. Some as result of Medicaid/Medicare cutbacks, some simply as a result of cost restructuring.

It is funny but the medical industry is often held up as a recession resistant industry. However they face the same market issues as everyone else.

Today Circuit City announced it is ceasing operations and laying off 30,000 people and ConocoPhillips announced a lay off of 1,300 people. here is a link to an article that lists the 87,000 lost jobs lost so far, note it includes Circuit City but not ConocoPhillips.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/16/news/ec ... 2009011614" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Add Ohio to your list. http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/sto ... ily13.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by t09t » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:58 pm

I live in central VA as well. We are lucky around here though, times are just now starting to get tough on people. Central VA has been very lucky the past year. We haven't had many problems except for circuit city headquarters being based here.

IMO things will turn around, we have a lot of new companies coming into the richmond area including rolls royce. Not to mention fort lee is doubleing and bringing in 10,000 service personnel.
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:17 pm

t09t wrote:I live in central VA as well. We are lucky around here though, times are just now starting to get tough on people. Central VA has been very lucky the past year. We haven't had many problems except for circuit city headquarters being based here.

IMO things will turn around, we have a lot of new companies coming into the richmond area including rolls royce. Not to mention fort lee is doubleing and bringing in 10,000 service personnel.
Oh Circuit City... how I will miss thee. For posterity I took a snapshot of its .035 stock quote today on Google Finance next to the headline "Circuit City joins ash heap of history". I loved that store. Bought many toys there over the years. Unfortunately, Best Buy with its half a dozen supafast checkout counters and enormous floorplan and enormous everything else, sucked the life right out of them.

Things will turn around, I've no doubt. It will not be soon, though, and things will be getting gloomier for a while, I'm afraid.

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by stimpy321972 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:35 am

Thanks for all the feedback,

I am aware that our facility is only going to lay off a few hundred people at the most.. and very inconsequential compared to the thousands and tens of thousands that other companies are laying off.

Just wanted to say I was not trying to belittle anyone elses situation and I being in the truama unit, we have standards set by the state that we have to maintain to keep our trauma I level rating. I feel confident my position is "safe" at least for now and like "raptor" stated I am in nursing and can work pretty much at any health care job in the area.

Was thinking that this is a real economic indicator and a big red flag, at least to me of how things are going down the crapper. I have been laid off before in 1992 when I worked for the sherrifs department as a deputy and when I was a paramedic back in 2000 and both of those were fights over supplements and reimbursement between the state and the municipal governments. So no stranger to "cutbacks" but this feels different somehow,,,


maybe I am just paranoid......?
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by raptor » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 am

stimpy321972 wrote:
maybe I am just paranoid......?

Just because you are paranoid, it does not mean someone isn't out to get you. A healthy level of paranoia has served me well over the years. :D

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by callista » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:54 am

This is kind of frightening to me--fewer hospital staff at the same time as many people are losing insurance and ending up in emergency rooms instead of at private clinics could mean some severe understaffing problems. When that happens, at best you wait six hours; at worst you could die... However competent and quick, theres's only so much one person can do, and if the hospital is overwhelmed, even minor increases like what you get from freeway pile-ups could mean that your triage gets to the point of giving up on one person because you have to save five other seriously injured ones... I do not envy you--even if you keep your job.
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by t09t » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:23 pm

callista wrote:When that happens, at best you wait six hours; at worst you could die...
Yea probably, although last summer a new hospital opened up in central VA and promised a 30 minute or less wait to see a DR in the ER. They probably aren't making that deal anymore... :wink:
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by The Highwayman » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:46 pm

Ellie With An Axe wrote:
t09t wrote:I live in central VA as well. We are lucky around here though, times are just now starting to get tough on people. Central VA has been very lucky the past year. We haven't had many problems except for circuit city headquarters being based here.

IMO things will turn around, we have a lot of new companies coming into the richmond area including rolls royce. Not to mention fort lee is doubleing and bringing in 10,000 service personnel.
Oh Circuit City... how I will miss thee. For posterity I took a snapshot of its .035 stock quote today on Google Finance next to the headline "Circuit City joins ash heap of history". I loved that store. Bought many toys there over the years. Unfortunately, Best Buy with its half a dozen supafast checkout counters and enormous floorplan and enormous everything else, sucked the life right out of them.

Things will turn around, I've no doubt. It will not be soon, though, and things will be getting gloomier for a while, I'm afraid.

My wife is/was a supervisor at Circuit City, and as of this morning, they have changed the locks on the store and are liquidating everything, starting at 10% off, and going up from there as time goes on. The employees are being told that there will be no time off granted (my wife has over 135 hours PTO-Paid Time Off accumulated) and that is going to be wiped clean. That's over 3 weeks pay lost right there. That, and they may still be working for 30-60 days. Now, she can't even access her account online with them, which is the only way for her to check her hours paid, taxes taken, etc. since she has direct deposit and does not get a normal check stub.
The store manager is trying to tell all the employees that those who stay to the end will get bonuses ( :roll: ) in order to keep them from just walking out.
This is going to hit us hard. My wife's pay accounts for just under half of our income, and her job was how we have health insurance (my job doesn't offer it). So, now we will have to survive on almost half what we normally do, but also have to pay the outrageous amount in full to COBRA the insurance. This is extremely necessary, as I have a severe injury to my back, and if I lose coverage, not only will I have to pay $100s of dollars out of pocket each month for my meds and Dr. appointments, but I won't be able to get coverage in the future. If coverage lapses, any future insurance company will consider it a pre-existing injury, and refuse to cover me.
There goes any prepping for the foreseable future. I may even have to sell my truck and some other things to get by, considering that unemployment in my county has been over 10% for months now.... :(
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by raptor » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:58 pm

I am sorry about your wife's job, that sucks.

With regard to the PTO depending upon state laws and written store policies you may have some recourse by filing a complaint with the US Dept of Labor wage and hour division. There are circumstances under which this time is vested and thus payable. However, since CC is in court ordered liquidation I assume their attorneys have already reviewed it and figured out a way around that pothole, but it is worth a shot to call the Dept of Labor and ask.

The COBRA issue is a real problem in this country. You need health insurance even if you are healthy and if you have a pre-existing condition you need continuous coverage to keep this condition covered.

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by The Highwayman » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:17 pm

raptor wrote:I am sorry about your wife's job, that sucks.

With regard to the PTO depending upon state laws and written store policies you may have some recourse by filing a complaint with the US Dept of Labor wage and hour division. There are circumstances under which this time is vested and thus payable. However, since CC is in court ordered liquidation I assume their attorneys have already reviewed it and figured out a way around that pothole, but it is worth a shot to call the Dept of Labor and ask.

The COBRA issue is a real problem in this country. You need health insurance even if you are healthy and if you have a pre-existing condition you need continuous coverage to keep this condition covered.
Thanks for the kind words Raptor. Since you are a business owner, I have a question for you that maybe you can answer. My wife got hurt on the job (an injury similar to mine, only not as severe) and has been undergoing treatment for over the past year, all of it covered by Worker's Comp. Since CC is now officially going out of business, do you have any idea what will happen to her treatment? We have several calls in to the WC provider, but haven't had any replies as of yet. I am hoping that her condition will still be covered, since it happened while under their employment, and CC has had to be paying WC premiums all along.
Worse case scenario, since we will be COBRAing the insurance anyway, she can get treatment that way. Unfortunately, that will increase out of pocket expenses, which will be critically shortened now as is.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.


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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by raptor » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:52 pm

Workman's Compensation varies by state and I am not an expert on any state WC laws. However, based upon my rudimentary knowledge of WC since the injury was covered by WC it should continue to covered by WC even when CC is liquidated. The WC claim is generally paid by the WC insurance carrier (not the employer who simply pays the insurance premium) and administered by the state. The state WC fund should cover the claim in the event that WC insurer goes bankrupt subject to the state limits.

However, a lot of companies as a means to reduce their WC cost administer their own WC claims and pay the claims out of their own pocket. These are frequently referred to a limited or light duty programs. If your wife is participating in such a company sponsored light duty program, a liquidation would mean she would have to go to the WC administered plan

I suggest that you continue to try and contact the WC contact and ask them. You are very likely entitled to receive continuing WC benefits, the question is from whom and to what extent. Let me alos add if you do not like the answer contact your State WC office for further information.

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by OhioMe » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:58 pm

Sick days I can understand losing, but taking 135 hours of earned 'personal time' away should be criminal. Maybe she and her co-workers should go back to work, chain themselves to the doors, and demand their accrued benefits like the workers in that window factory in Illinois a few weeks ago.

What would happen she and her co-workers accidentally dropped inventory, slipped and fell into stacks in the stockroom, etc? Just sayin'...
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by thefirebuilds » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:29 pm

stimpy321972 wrote:Not really pertinent to most of you guys/gals because the news is full of companies downsizing everyday and I am sure a lot of you are or will be touched by this "economy" I tend to think along with a lot of the independent news guys; that this economic downturn will get very ugly, very soon.

The irony is less people have health coverage since more are out of work, so you just became busier "coming and going." Oh, and pay cuts you seem to think too? WTF?!
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by The Highwayman » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:36 pm

OhioMe wrote:Sick days I can understand losing, but taking 135 hours of earned 'personal time' away should be criminal. Maybe she and her co-workers should go back to work, chain themselves to the doors, and demand their accrued benefits like the workers in that window factory in Illinois a few weeks ago.

What would happen she and her co-workers accidentally dropped inventory, slipped and fell into stacks in the stockroom, etc? Just sayin'...

It's funny you mention that. We are both very law-abiding people, and try to do the right thing. However, I firmly believe that what you have earned is your right to recieve, one way or the other. I won't go into details, but when I have been wronged in the past by employers, I have grinned and beared it, and justly (in my eyes) extracted compensation for what I was owed by other means. I'm not necessarily proud of havign done this, but I truely believe I was right in what I had "recieved" as payment for work performed.

My wife on the other hand, has mostly worked for upstanding companies, and would never consider such recompense. As a matter of fact, she has gone out of her way to make sure the companies she's worked for, have been protected. She has stopped many people from shoplifting, even going so far as to "harrass" suspected thieves, by following them around the store, and continually asking them if there was anything she could help them with. More than a few of them have just given up, and left with empty pockets.
Incidently, they have (or rather had) a policy where if they were to thwart an attempted theft, they were to recieve a bonus based on a percentage of the value of the items attempted to be stolen. Just this past week, she had not only stopped two shoplifters from getting stuff, but also caught one of the employees under her from stealing about $400 in IPods and accessories. From what she's being told, she can kiss those bonuses goodbye as well. Upon hearing this, I told her that she should just ignore any more such attempts, since it is not going to be of any benefit to her, and actually might endanger her if any suspected thieves were to get violent. I doubt she will listen though.
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:57 pm

I am so sorry to hear this news, DTOM. Raptor's advice is sound about pursuing that personal time. Pursue it until you've exhausted every route. When I was let go, I didn't get anything - no severance pay, no extension of benefits, no assistance in getting me into another position in the same department (which had openings), then a year later? They were hiring for my position, the position which they had closed due to budget cuts. Fuckers.

I hope your wife's able to get something going with another job before her time at CC runs out. I'll keep you guys in my thoughts.

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by The Highwayman » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:51 pm

Ellie With An Axe wrote:I am so sorry to hear this news, DTOM. Raptor's advice is sound about pursuing that personal time. Pursue it until you've exhausted every route. When I was let go, I didn't get anything - no severance pay, no extension of benefits, no assistance in getting me into another position in the same department (which had openings), then a year later? They were hiring for my position, the position which they had closed due to budget cuts. Fuckers.

I hope your wife's able to get something going with another job before her time at CC runs out. I'll keep you guys in my thoughts.

Thanks Ellie, that's really sweet. I hope things work out well for you as well. Right now we are working on getting her resume up to snuff, since she's been at CC for over 7 years now. She's just really having a hard time getting over the sense of betrayal...
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by stimpy321972 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:46 am

DTOM, sorry to hear about your loss, I have faith that everything will fall into place.. when I was laid off in 2000 the state offered a re-education program for "displaced" workers, which amounted to 2 years of training in another field, plus 2yrs of unemployment insurance. The unemployment insurance was not that much, about 600 a month. I felt angry and betrayed, because I had been with the squad about 9yrs. That's when I took a job and relocated to Richmond, not really my first choice but it is what I had to do at the time. I don't know what FLA offers but it should be somewhere along the same lines.

To9T, that "deal" is a state/accreditation standard that every hospital is supposed to adhere too. You are supposed to be seen by an RN and assessed when you enter the ER and then seen by an physician/PA/NP within a few minutes to comfirm the assessment.. I used to work for Bon Secours I know their "guarrantee". I had to take my girlfriend to the ER at ST M's the other night, we were seen right away by a nurse and then by a PA then we waited 2hrs to get back to the ER...and then we stayed there a total of 4hr, this after I told them I used to work there..and wanted to see the hospital supervisor,, which never came..... they called her two days later to ask her how her visit went.. ha ha ha

callista, we have some people waiting 10-12 hours to be seen on a weekend night,, I have heard some people say they were in there for up to 20hrs. We were promised that with this layoff that our workload won't increase !! My unit is already short about 10-15 nurses we still have 4 brand new room/beds that are closed because we don't have enough staff to cover them.. we normally have a ratio of 1 nurse for every 2 rooms because we are a trauma ICU but have had to take/cover 3 rooms which makes for a very long and dangerous night... It bothers me that they are talking about cutting staff, because if something goes wrong our personal licenses and jobs are on the line.. not in the least we can be personally sued along with the hospital. The fact we were too busy or we were given a patient load that we couldn't handle is no defense in a civil or criminal proceeding. Our policy even though it states our maximum number of patients is 2 patients. if we refuse to take another patient we can be reprimanded up to and including termination... that is also in the policy. So them increasing our workload is a distinct possibility... it's a wonderfull world afterall...

I also would like to say I feel for all of us, and in the future.. those who have lost their jobs and those of us who are uncertain of our future employment. Without getting into politics this has been caused by corporate greed and unethical business practices by most of the upper management's of these companies. I know the news and commentators have said that this is just a bad economic time that will pass very soon. No one knows the future and because most of us on this forum are, I think practical people, we should all be looking to prepare more so for the very hard times that may be coming ahead. I do believe it is possible for a real economic meltdown to occur. This is part of who I am, I always prepare for the worst and am relieved when I am proved wrong.....

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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by WILLIE » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:26 am

Our prayers will go out to you DTOM. My wife is a school teacher here in Florida. She took a 5% pay cut at the beginning of the year. Now administration is telling her she will not be getting paid over the summer. She, as well as all teachers in her district, are salary employees. The yearly pay is divided into 26 equal payments. Administration is eliminating 5. That is a huge reduction in our homes income/finances. Not as bad as losing a job, but it's going to suck.
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by Loquinho » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:00 pm

Assuming you're talking about the same hospital I'm talking about in Central Virginia, then I just happen to work for the architecture firm that designed your newly completed bed tower. Wouldn't that be an odd coincidence.

We've also been in the process of redesigning your entire main hospital ED, to include the adjoining empty space in the new bed tower, but were just told recently that the entire project is now indefinitely on hold. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the two events are interconnected. I'm very sorry for the stressful situation this puts you in. Our company just went through it's 3rd round of layoffs since October. This totals a 14% loss of staff company wide. So far, I still have a job, and am very thankful for that.
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Re: Tough times indicator in my area (Central Va)

Post by stimpy321972 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:02 pm

Yes, we are talking about that same hospital in central va,, I work in the new CCH on the 9th floor,,,, man that's all you get for 155 million,,, and yes the ED expansion project is on indefinite hold. We were told halfway through the project that the ED would not be expanded.. they originaly earmarked 220 million for the whole thing,, they decided to hold on before any of the current economic situation really started to heat up. That is a real shame because the ER is in desperate need of more room and a good renovation. When I worked down there we were more crowded than they are now.. at least now they renovated in the back and have a overnight observation unit that patients can be moved to from the ER.. I can't believe they/us are letting all that space sit in CCH G, I cut through the construction there every night out to the ER drive to smoke and it astounds me that they didn't finish that first and put some of the other construction on hold. Some of the other floors in the CCH are at less than 50% census and will stay that way for a long time due to staffing and budget issues.. but I expressed a lot of my frustration at the last big meeting,,, a lot of good it did,,

Well I hope you are not affected by the evil monster,, and I hope you guys can finish the ED project soon,, cause we and the public need a better place to work and be seen in....
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