Reality & Education: Did you know hospitals have different Rules? Especially if they are a Church...
Until last week Thursday I worked as a behavioral health tech for Mercy hospital in St. Louis MO. The reason I resigned was because of Covid-19 and how they were handling the situation in a building that has lock down units as this is a mental health facility.
There was no respect or dignity given to the mentally ill in this facility when it came to Covid-19. Staff like normal would work on all units, even after exposure to the virus on another unit (We could be asymptomatic passing this on). Patients were not being separated at the recommended distance as the units would remain full. One patient was admitted after droplet precautions were removed by one hospitalist then but back the next day prior to this patient being removed from the unit to be tested for Covid-19, they were positive.
What I experienced and saw was in-excusable. The kitchen staff was being told by my supervisors that nobody was admitted with Corona onto the floors. I know that was a lie as I came into contact with at least 3 positive patients myself. The kitchen staff is responsible for filling the nourishment rooms on the units, and not only that, they come into contact with staff who again has come into contact with Covid-19. I received an email stating I was exposed and to monitor my symptoms. The kitchen staff did not receive that email.
There were at least 3 adults and 1 child to my knowledge within a 2 week time that I witnessed being sent out to be tested. These people were never placed immediately into isolation but directly into population of well people.
Not only were the kitchen staff being lied to EVS, the housekeeping staff, didn't have the equipment they needed to properly clean rooms or to clean the units. The units were never cleaned once the patients were transferred to the hospital for Covid-19 testing. The techs were told to clean with bleach or alcohol wipes on the heavy hit surface. If you have been following Covid-19 you will know that the virus spreads Airborn when sneezing or coughing.
When siting on a unit, if you have never been on a lock down unit, it's very hard to keep people who are mentally ill away from each other, especially 29.5 feet apart, let alone 6 ft. It gets even harder when you work with kids/teens who are wanting to kill themselves because life has stopped being routine or normal and they don't want to be in the hospital or even listen to staff.
After seeing the disrespect for a population that already needs help and isn't in their right minds, I decided to keep a time line and contact the Department of Health and OSHA. This is how I remembered that NOT ALL HOSPITALS ARE THE SAME. What I mean by that is that not all hospitals abide by our laws.
***When I contacted the health department I received this email from them:
Our office regulates and licenses hospitals in Missouri. I have looked and don’t see this facility in our system. It appears this is a free standing clinic so complaints need to be taken up with them directly or a complaint can be made against a specific physician through the Board of Healing Arts at 573-751-0098.
So this hospital isn't in the system of the Missouri Health department. My building is apart of Mercy, I got paid from Mercy and worked in the actual hospital...so why are they not in the system??
Catholic hospitals operate under the Ethical and Religious Directives published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and updated last June. They prohibit procedures that are "intrinsically immoral," including abortion, contraception, physician-assisted suicide and what the bishops call "direct sterilization."
The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) are directives promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to govern Catholic health facilities. The ERDs present “a theological basis for the Catholic health care ministry” and govern the way health care is delivered in Catholic health facilities and systems, including hospitals, clinics, and managed care organizations
The ERDs substitute religious doctrine for the standard of care. They make no exceptions for the health or life of the patient, medical necessity, or the informed decision of the patient. Under the ERDs, treatment options are not subject to patient control or provider recommendation. For example, the prohibition on abortion applies to the termination of any pregnancy, even where the pregnancy is putting the patient’s health or life at risk.
My next question after I contacted OSHA was: "Am I actually a protected employee?
Under the Law:
1975.4(c) Coverage of churches and special policy as to certain church activities - 1975.4(c)(1) Churches. Churches or religious organizations, like charitable and non-profit organizations, are considered employers under the Act where they employ one or more persons in secular activities. As a matter of enforcement policy, the performance of, or participation in, religious services (as distinguished from secular or proprietary activities whether for charitable or religion-related purposes) will be regarded as not constituting employment under the Act. Any person, while performing religious services or participating in them in any degree is not regarded as an employer or employee under the Act, notwithstanding the fact that such person may be regarded as an employer or employee for other purposes - for example, giving or receiving remuneration in connection with the performance of religious services. 1975.4(c)(2) Examples. Some examples of coverage of religious organizations as employers would be: A private hospital owned or operated by a religious organization; a private school or orphanage owned or operated by a religious organization; commercial establishments of religious organizations engaged in producing or selling products such as alcoholic beverages, bakery goods, religious goods, etc.; and administrative, executive, and other office personnel employed by religious organizations. Some examples of noncoverage in the case of religious organizations would be: Clergymen while performing or participating in religious services; and other participants in religious services; namely, choir masters, organists, other musicians, choir members, ushers, and the like. https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1975/1975.4
Yes, OSHA laws applied to me. However I still quit my job because I knew that they were not being regulated properly by the state and that Mercy could do as they pleased.
***My response from OSHA's investigation was a report from another facility that had nothing to do with Mercy at all. I got a report on a cleaning company.
OSHA has a dedicated whistleblower protection program, which enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) and more than 20 other laws with anti-retaliation provisions. Under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act, private sector workers—including in the healthcare sector—are protected from retaliation if they raise health- and safety-related concerns about their workplace.
I wanted to reach out to the Joint Commission as that was my 3rd entity I needed to contact. However when I tried to call them, they were not doing surveying at this time, or taking complaints as I could not find a phone number to leave a message or an email address to file my complaint.
The mission of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations.
The Joint Commission also works under The Catholic EDRs.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations requires hospitals to have a mechanism for addressing ethical issues in providing patient care, and it recommends a multidisciplinary ethics committee. Nursing homes and long term care institutions also have developed committees in the United States.
So as you see, the Roman Catholic Church regulates its own hospitals.
Here is why I contacted OSHA and the Health Department:
I am a behavioral tech at Mercy Conway Behavioral Health located at 12125 Conway Rd St. Louis MO 63141 and I am reporting violations due to the mishandling of Covid-19 exposure, clean up and patient care. I have a timeline I would like to share with you. As a healthcare professional, it is my duty to warn. Mental health is a vulnerable field and these people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
I received an email stating that I was exposed to Covid-19 and to self monitor symptoms. Since this email, I have been assigned to work on 3 different units. Knowing that I could be A-symptomatic I do not agree that this is proper as I work with ages as young as 4-99 at any given time.
I witnessed a patient being removed from our adult unit on 1North who was being transferred to the hospital for Covid-19 testing. I was informed that prior night on 4-3 they were admitted to the lock down unit for adults knowing they had been exposed to Covid-19. The hospitalist that night took them off droplet precautions and they were free to be in the population of this unit. At that time to my knowledge there were 17 other patients. This person who was sent out was sent about 1pm, before my shift ended at 3pm. The reason they got moved was because another hospitalist placed them back on droplet precautions and had them sent out for testing. I do not know the results of this test as they did not have them back as of 4-6-2020.
I worked with the adolescents and got report that there were some sick children on the unit. One was kept in isolation, the others were not. The one on isolation was finally taken out of the population at this time there were 12 kids on the unit and kept in his room. He did not get sent out until 1:30-2pm and he tested positive as of 4-9-2020.
EVS did not clean his room right after staff and I placed signs on the door for precautions. EVS did not tell us they needed to get a spray from the main hospital and left the room open. Another staff member and I moved furniture around in that room so that other patients could use the room. We ended up contaminating 2 other rooms by moving mattresses and clothing around without the room being properly cleaned. This event exposed 4 children total plus staff to Covid contamination
Young female on the adolescent unit was sick with a temp of 99.4 and vomiting. She refused to wear a mask and the nurses refused to keep her isolated and in her room. She was less than 6 feet apart from other children.
Another young female on the same unit was sick with a temp in the 99s.
On 4-9-2020 these females were sent out to the hospital to be tested for Covid-19.
A young male on the adolescent who was showing signs of Covid-19 from 4-6 was finally placed on 1:1 and isolated out of the population on 4-9 was finally sent out to be tested around 4pm on 4-10-2020. He coughed and sneezed on staff while he was coding (Code Purple, being violent and non-compliant). He ended up being restrained. At this time I am unsure of his test results.
The psych dr finally determined that the children on the unit did not need to go into the smaller group rooms as they could not remain 6ft apart.
The kitchen staff is being lied to and they have told me that their supervisor as well as mine is informing them that they have not been exposed to Covid-19 and that nobody has come back positive. The kitchen staff comes into contact with techs and nurses as well as the population on the unit when they fill the nourishment rooms.
EVS has never to my knowledge cleaned the day rooms on each unit where the patients sit and eat and watch T.V. Techs are told to wipe things down with alcohol wipes and finally given bleach wipes to use as well.
The ventilation system at the Conway building is different than the one at the hospital. It is not equipped to protect us from germs and viruses like the hospital is as the Conway building is a lock down behavioral health facility and is separate from the main hospital.
To my knowledge there have been sick people admitted to behavioral health with symptoms on all units now. It first began in March on our Senior unit.
Staff is also asked to work different units. As I stated earlier, I was exposed to Covid-19 in March and could be asymptomatic, especially after the young man tested positive on the adolescent unit. They are also sending staff from our designated Covid-19 unit, 3c at the main hospital to work in the Conway building. Both techs and nurses are exposing the building as they have been in contact with confirmed cases.
On April 1, 2020 I had to wait 30 minutes to get a new mask after mine had become contaminated. Only a supervisor is allowed to give us new masks. It took 4 times from 2 different phones to reach my supervisor. I had to use my cell phone as he was not picking up the unit phone.
As I stated earlier, I am a mandated reporter. Peoples lives are at stake and I am asking for something to be done to help those who cannot mentally or emotionally understand what is going on. Mercy Behavioral Health was not going to notify the parents of the children that have been exposed to Covid-19 until one of the kids overheard them discuss the positive result and told their parent.
For More Information on the Joint Commission and the Benefits of them
For More Information on the Ethical Directives of the Catholic Church
(I can assure you that regards for Yahusha/Jesus is Nowhere in Mercy St.Louis behavioral health as a standard of care.)