Munson Medical Center in Traverse City has changed some of its policies for nurses working through the COVID-19 pandemic
Late last week, the hospital addressed a number of concerns raised by the Traverse City Munson Nurses Association (TCMNA).
TCMNA wanted better precautions for nurses who are pregnant, immunocompromised or over 60.
The hospital is now allowing pregnant nurses, immunocompromised nurses, and nurses over 70 to opt out of working during the pandemic.
They added a similar provision for breastfeeding nurses, according to TCMNA.
Nurses were also upset about the lack of Paid Time Off (PTO) for those who end up exposed to or infected with coronavirus.
A hospital lawyer told a group of nurses last week that if they needed to self-isolate and didn't have enough PTO that they would have to borrow time from the hospital.
TCMNA President Carolyn Moss, who is also a registered nurse at Munson, says that means they’d go into “debt” with the hospital.
Munson Medical Center Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications Dianne Michalek says only a few people were told that, not the whole hospital staff.
“That was not a formal policy that Munson Healthcare had communicated to any employees,” she says. “That was a conversation that some people had, and some people thought that might be an option. We very quickly ruled that out as an option.”
“So, I mean, the negative PTO balance was told it was going to roll out to all employees the following day,” Moss says.
Munson Medical Center has since updated its PTO guidelines, giving employees, including nurses, 14 paid days off if exposed or ill with COVID-19.
Moss is happy with the hospital’s actions, but wishes they would have come sooner.
“We’ve made real progress and seen real progress with our administration,” Moss says. “We’re glad the administration is working with us to come up with the best policies.”