EAST LIVERPOOL - With a 10-day strike notice filed by members of the East Liverpool Nurses Association, patient admissions were halted as of 2 p.m. Wednesday at East Liverpool City Hospital.
The deadline for the strike is midnight Saturday. According to a press release from the hospital administration, the nurses' union issued the strike notice prior to entering their last week of negotiations with the hospital leadership.
This notification requires the hospital to begin immediate preparations for a strike, including halting admissions.
Additionally, should a strike actually occur, various other departments will be closed for the duration, but the Wound Care Center, Senior Behavioral Health and most outpatient departments will remain open, including labs, radiology, therapy, echo and EKG, according to hospital officials.
The emergency room remains open, according to a hospital spokesman.
In the release, officials said, "East Liverpool City Hospital has struggled financially for many years. Although we have made great strides increasing services, starting medical training programs, enhancing quality and bringing new physicians to our community, the increased costs of providing health care services have created a long-term decline in financial resources available."
According to the release, the hospital "has offered our nurses an excellent wage and benefit package" which includes increases, education tuition reimbursement, substantial time off with pay, health benefit options and a competitive retirement plan that matches that of more than 33,000 health care workers in the state of Ohio.
It continued, "Our negotiations with the union have been professional and courteous. Our nurses are hard-working mothers and fathers of our community. We believe they deserve a fair wage and a competitive benefit package."
Hospital officials said the impact of a strike will be felt by "everyone around" and all hospital employees would be affected as departments are drastically downsized, also possibly jeopardizing services in the future if physicians and staff are lost as a result.
Despite the possible strike, officials said, "We will provide excellent care for patients in our outpatient setting throughout this process."
Attempts to locate union representatives last night were unsuccessful.