CRONA Newsletter September 13, 2020
Dear CRONA Nurses,
We are now making our schedule requests for the schedule that includes Election Day, November 3. For those who will have the day off, consider volunteering to work the polls. Many veteran poll workers are older, retired people who may not volunteer this year due to concerns about COVID-19. CRONA asked the hospitals to consider offering, as many large and small corporations have, a paid day for any employee who volunteers to work the polls. We haven’t had a response from the hospital, but that does not mean we can’t volunteer regardless.
If you will be working on November 3 and plan to vote in person, remember that state law allows you paid time off to vote if you do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. You can be given as much time as you need in order to vote, but only a maximum of two hours is paid.
In other important news, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill last week, AB 1867, closing the gap in paid sick leave due to COVID-19 exposure. Earlier federal legislation provided paid time off, but excluded companies with more than 500 employees, such as Stanford and Packard hospitals. We are waiting to hear from the hospitals about how they plan to implement this new state law.
Colleen Borges, CRONA President
September Webinar Q & A
Q: My unit no longer has a unit CRONA rep, how will this place be filled?
Q: Can you see our faces when we join the webinar just like we can see you?
A: No, we can’t. We use the webinar format rather than the meeting format.
Q: Will the upcoming CRONA Convention be all day, now that it is a remote event?
A: It will not be all day; we are still planning it but think it will be about 6 hours.
Q: Will there continue to be remote monthly meetings? I live a long distance away and I have enjoyed attending from home.
A: Yes. We actually started this format during negotiations last year and it has been very popular. We plan to continue the monthly remote meetings and we plan to also resume monthly in person meetings when we are able to do that again.
Q: Would I have to drive to Stanford for testing if I need to be tested for COVID-19? (It is a 300-mile round trip drive and that would be awful if I were sick)
A: This is a complicated question and we wish we had a more complete answer for you right now. When the hospital put out its new guidelines for paid admin leave, they stated that you must be tested at Stanford in order to be eligible for paid admin leave. CRONA objected to this surprising new requirement! We think it discriminates against nurses who live very far away (and the hospital has your address so they know they have many employees with extreme commutes – even from out of state). We think it incentivizes sick nurses to drive long distances when they are ill – which runs directly against the principles of how to limit the spread of COVID-19. From a healthcare organization, it seems bad policy. We are in conversations about this with both hospitals but it’s really Stanford we are waiting on…and waiting…
Q: Is the voluntary nasal mid-turbinate self-swab COVID-19 testing a product study?
A: We are aware there is a study looking at observed mid-turbinate self-swabbing, but we do not have further details.
Q: Will Stanford/Packard require us to get COVID-vaccines, when they are available? Will we be able to opt-out like we can with the Flu vaccine?
A: We do not know. Likely the hospital does not know. There may be guidance from California Department of Public Health and/or Santa Clara County Public Health, and/or CDC, which the hospital would be required to follow.
Q: My EDU time is used up and I took it last week which was still august but now it says 0 on my balance when others have a reset EDU amount.
A: If your balance is not correct after this pay period (ending 9/5/20) is processed, file a ticket with HR online. If you do not receive a response within a week, or the response seems incorrect and your balance is still incorrect, send us an email and be sure to include your HR ticket number along with a copy of any correspondence from HR. We will escalate.
Q: So bottom line, Stanford is only paying admin leave while being tested and awaiting results, up to 36 hours. SHC will do their best to not pay anything for getting sick while taking care of our patients.
A: The 36-hour limit is correct information. We do not know if Stanford is trying to avoid paying if a nurse is out of work due to COVID-19 symptoms. We understand why that may be your opinion. We continue to push for improvements. FYI, LPCH (Stanford Children’s) is paying up to 3 missed shifts, so the two hospitals have different policies. CRONA asked SHC to sync its policy with that of LPCH; we hope that will happen.
Q: If someone is a cohabitant of a COVID-19 positive person, does the nurse just has to call out sick while they quarantine?
A: Since you will be out of work (unless you are able to work remotely) for more than seven (7) days, you will need to file for a leave of absence through The Hartford. You may be eligible to collect SDI (state disability insurance) or unemployment through the EDD depending on your individual situation. You would need to apply through the EDD (State of California’s Employment Development Department) to determine eligibility. You will have to use your own PTO/ESL/ATO to supplement any pay from the state to make up your full salary.
Q: We are ALL grateful for our union, especially during COVID!!! Thank you CRONA!!!
A: You’re welcome! It takes all of us to keep CRONA strong, we’re glad you’re here at the webinar!
Q: Any plans from the hospital to implement regular staff COVID-19 testing?
A: We have not been informed of any plans. To ask about that, you could send a question to the CORT group (combined Stanford/Packard hospital and Stanford University group that meets weekly to determine policies) or call the Healthcare Response Team (department that schedules employee COVID-19 testing at (650) 497-9595.
Q: Just FYI…for co-habitation isolation, The Hartford denied my Short Term Disability claim (this is different from SDI – state disability insurance) because I myself was not sick. ☹
A: That’s interesting…thank you for sharing.
Q: If someone you live with or someone who was in your home for at least 8 hours subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, can you get a test? And if the test is negative, can you come back to work? (if you are not in contact with the person)
A: No. You will be required to stay home on quarantine. The current quarantine is at least 14 days: 14 days if you can isolate from the COVID-19 positive person, or 24 days if you cannot isolate from the COVID-19 positive person. Call the Healthcare Response team at (650) 497-9595 to report if someone you cohabitate with tests positive or if you have questions.
Q: So, what you’re saying is that if I told them my child has COVID and we can’t isolate, I would be on quarantine for 24 days?
Q: Could I receive attendance discipline for this, or be negatively impacted on my performance review?
Q: Vacation question: A lot of us had to cancel our pre-approved vacations to save PTO for use during TWA. Many of us went negative on PTO but have since rescheduled vacations coming up through the end of the year. We are wondering if we must have full PTO to take these upcoming vacays or if we are allowed to take these vacations with insufficient or no PTO? According to the contract Section 35 entitled (staff reductions and layoffs) due to Enforced Absence Time, it appears to say we can take vacay with insufficient PTO. Is this the case and if so, how long will this be allowed, seems like it says something to the effect of 12 months from the beginning of EA time…Please clarify, thanks so much!!!
A: If your unit was impacted during TWA then you may take your vacation, even if you do not have sufficient PTO. You will not be allowed to go into negative PTO, you would just not receive pay for any time off for which you do not have PTO accrued. A few units not impacted by TWA are not allowing this – NICU and PICU at LPCH, for example.
Q: For purchase of professional memberships using our Education funds – do we need to present CEUs?
A: No. You just pay for the membership.
Q: Last week the ED was informed of a new COVID research study that involves RNs to do most of the work. Patrice, our director, informed us during huddle last week that she got it cleared by “your union”. Is this true or not?
A: This is deceptive. If that is what your director said, it appears she is either not understanding the topic, or she is being selectively truthful, like a politician. We were informed that there will be clinical trials in the hospital in general and that nurses would be asked to participate. Remember, if there is significant work involved, that affects your acuity. You must staff by acuity.
Q: I just returned from LOA and my education hours and funds shows $0 for 2021. Will this just take time? Or is there someone I need to contact? There is a course I had to pay for today but can’t create the application. Should I email someone so they have to acknowledge the request?
A: Yes, create a ticket online via AskHR. You will have a ticket number and can track the response. Then, if you don’t get a response within a week you can email firstname.lastname@example.org – include your ticket number and a copy of any correspondence with HR. We can escalate.
Q: Can you clarify, if you are exposed to someone who ends up testing positive for COVID-19 but you were only around them for a short period of time, does this qualify you for quarantine?
A: The hospital’s FAQ states 8+ hours exposure in order for the exposure to be counted as a cohabitation exposure.
Q: In the ICU can 2 CRRT float for each other? Some ICUs have started to assign this float situation again.
A: Not if at least one of those patients is staffed 1:1 due to the acuity of the patient. Staffing should be done by acuity. If a CRRT patient is busy/acute enough, then that is a 1:1 assignment. If you believe your assignment is too heavy, bring this to the attention of 1) the Resource Nurse, 2) manager on duty, 3) nursing supervisor. Also write an ADO stating who you informed, and when, and what the response was.
Q: L&D nurses are required to carry their phones with them on their breaks. I thought this meant that it wasn’t a true break in that case?
A: IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO REQUIRE YOU TO CARRY A PHONE ON YOUR BREAK. YOU GET A MEAL OR BREAK PENALTY IF THIS HAPPENS. Unless L&D nurses start filing ADOs about this and claiming the penalty (costing the hospital money), it will not change. START WRITING ADOs – NOW!
Q: I was told by my ANM at LPCH that any unused EDU hours up to 10 hours will be automatically rolled over. Is this true?
A: NO. It is up to 16 hours at LPCH that may be rolled over (up to all hours may be rolled over at SHC). And you need to have requested to use the hours and been denied. Send your manager an email to make the request. Cc CRONA on the email.
Q: They frequently give the TL (break nurse/float) a patient on my unit, but when I push back, I am labeled as “complaining.”
A: Objecting to being asked to break the law is not “complaining”. Telling someone they are “complaining” because they object to violating the law are engaged in bullying and intimidation, and this should be pointed out to the offender (in a calm and polite way), and escalated if it continues.
Q: Have you considered a way to file ADOs in an anonymous way?
A: Filing anonymously is not helpful because we cannot get to the facts of the issue.
Q: Does management can reprimand staff for coming in late due to this new screening process which delay staff to clock in?
A: They should not be, but I haven’t heard of any delays in the screening lately.
A: Is the paid admin leave offered for other staff or just CRONA?
A: This is for all employees. But CRONA Nurses have someone to turn to when their manager screws up their paid admin leave time card coding.
A: Just FYI Please follow up with managers regarding Admin Leave. Initially I was put out as PTS and had to kindly ask that I had been informed by HRT that I had 3 days admin leave available. They then changed to admin from PTS as they concurred with my information.
A: We follow up with managers about this CONSTANTLY. Many mistakes are being made. Communication from HR has not been good, and/or managers not understanding.
Q: FYI due to my symptoms I could not drive in due to the long distance, and HRT allowed me to go to Kaiser. I am being paid admin leave.
A: That is today. Stanford hospital’s Employee & Labor Relations department is changing that. We think this is unsafe and are pushing back.
Q: If I attend a conference virtually in October, I know the fee is reimbursable; but if I want to use EDU hours, do I need to apply for time as normal?
A: Yes, you ask for EDU hours for the length of the convention.
Q: Can CRONA assure new young Nurses via a reach-out somehow that they will not lose their job if they report ADO for staffing?
A: CRONA regularly includes this information in newsletters and at membership meetings. It is a growth experience as a nurse and as a person to take a stand when something is not right. As nurses, we are professionally responsible for doing that.