San Diego nurses fight temporary layoffs amid pandemic

SAN DIEGO — As some regions scramble to fill up medical staff amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, one San Diego hospital is doing the opposite.

Last week, Palomar Health announced that it will temporarily lay off 221 part-time and per diem employees, many of them registered nurses.

And these nurses are voicing their frustration.

“We feel this is a money decision instead of a human decision. We’re totally against it,” said RN George Santiago.

“Rescind the layoffs at this time — it is very irresponsible for them to lay off these workers and almost a hundred nurses, we need all the resources to take care of our patients,” said Dahlia Tayag.

The hospital said majority the staff are part of outpatient and non-emergency units, which have been suspended since the coronavirus pandemic.

Palomar had announced that parts of their campus would become a regional FEMA hospital, adding 250 beds to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Union leaders said instead of layoffs – the nurses could fulfill new roles.

“The solution should be cross-trained,” said Gigi Narisma.

In a statement, the hospital said it intends to bring back the laid-off workers after the coronavirus crisis. The laid-off workers will retain their benefits, and are immediately eligible for unemployment benefits.

Palomar president and CEO Diane Hansen said that safe patient care will remain a top priority and that these temporary layoffs do not impact any positions related to inpatient bedside care

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