Nurses and doctors who work for two Franklin-based hospital chains say the companies' financial uncertainty is becoming evident on the frontlines of patient care. Several nurses spoke at the annual shareholders meetings of Community Health Systems and its recent spinoff, Quorum. Both were held Tuesday morning at the Cool Springs Marriott.
At a California hospital owned by Quorum, RN Jennifer Holm says her obstetrics unit has lost 40 percent of its staff over the last few years.
"You lose the nurses who can kind of watch out for the newer nurses," she says. "It means that our night shift right now struggles to adequately staff the unit to provide appropriate care."
Holm says it feels like the hospital isn't overly concerned with filling openings with experienced nurses.
"There's a hesitancy to invest in the long term. The things like recruitment and retention, it's harder to do," she says.
As an owner of some Quorum stock, Holm was allowed to speak at the annual shareholders meeting. Her nurses union has been arguing any company considering a deal with Quorum or Community Health should know that they may have to make investments to improve the overall operations of the hospitals.
Some doctors have been making a similar case that there has been a lack of corporate investment. This week a group of physicians in Indiana announced a bid to buy hospitals in Fort Wayne from Community Health.
A Community Health spokesperson has not responded to a request for comment.
The publicly-traded hospital chain has been trying to get out from under a mountain of debt by selling off hospitals. Its stock price has rebounded somewhat, but at one point was down 90 percent from its high point in 2015.