Statement from Northern Inyo Hospital

– Press release from Northern Inyo Hospital

Northern Inyo Hospital remains committed to bargaining in good faith with the NIH nurses represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). NIH is making every effort to be fair to all parties involved while keeping its commitment to the community to provide quality health care at reasonable rates.


  • NIH reduced the rate of many services in an effort to bring a balance to health care in Inyo County, and will not apologize for placing the needs of its patients and the community it serves at the forefront. NIH’s RN pay scale range is $33.72 to $48.41/hour, or roughly $70,000 to $100,000 annually. RNs who work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. earn an additional 8 percent shift differential, while those who work 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. earn an additional 25 percent.
  • In the long run, NIH is looking to preserve hospital service for this community. NIH must adapt how we provide services in order to meet modern patient needs.
  • To date, NIH has paid $56,000 for legal consultation in regards to the unionization. It is typical for both sides of any union negotiation to have legal counsel. However, NIH would rather see this money used to improve patient services.

Specific points about NIH Medical Leave:

  • NIH voluntarily goes above and beyond the 12 week Federal Medical Leave Act minimum with an additional four weeks of protected leave. A 2012 U.S. Department of Labor statistics report more than 70 percent of employees taking FMLA leave were back at work within 40 days. Only women who took leave to care for a new child took longer leaves.
  • Additionally, NIH employees may use any Paid Time Off (PTO) they have coming, plus other available resources, including the opportunity to have co-workers donate PTO hours to the employee.
  • After FMLA is exhausted, the medical condition is protected under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, the hospital has the right to not accommodate an extended medical leave because of an undue hardship to the hospital and a specific department.
  • In the last two years, there have been three instances where an employee was separated from NIH due to medical issues. One was separated after 23 weeks, one after 20 weeks and one after 16 weeks.
  • It is shameful that the RNs would accuse the District and its Board of Directors of being uncaring and inhumane. When faced with making needed changes, the Board stepped up, researched solutions and sought input from stakeholders. Their priority is the greater good of this community.

Specific points about NIH Grievance Policy:

  • NIH was the only District Hospital in the State of California where employees could appeal grievances to the Board of Directors. It would not be fair to non-union employees to have one grievance policy for union members, and another for everyone else. NIH is committed to a fair and just grievance procedure for all employees, and we are committed to assuring the nurses a fair process.

Northern Inyo Hospital remains committed to providing quality of care for its community. Should anyone have concerns about the quality of care received, please contact Maria Sirois, Chief Performance Excellence Officer, at (760) 873-5811 or



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11 Responses to Statement from Northern Inyo Hospital

  1. Jake June 15, 2015 at 6:10 am #

    Frankly, I think it’s time that this Hospital step up and make changes to keep it financially viable. I don’t want to be on the hook as a homeowner to pay and make up any shortfalls. I’m 100 percent behind this board and administration to make these tough choices. Keep up the good work! I’m sure that there will be responses to this post as to I don’t know what I’m talking about, but in reality, I do since I’m a property tax payer in the District.

  2. Philip Anaya June 15, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    The Northern Inyo Hospital Board Meeting is Wednesday, June 17, 2015 @ 5.30 pm in the annex 2957 Birch Street. Bishop . Here is a link to the Agenda

    It seems strange that a press release from NIH did not contain this notification. NIH is a public entity and lack of notification in this press release of the NIH Board Meeting unfortunately offers little credibility to the work of the Board and the Administration . It makes it seem that they do not want the public to know or be involved with what is currently occurring at NIH. We trust caregivers with our welfare and our lives . While I agree that keeping the doors of NIH open and keeping NIH financially viable is necessary, it is also necessary to have Doctors and Nurses functioning without workplace administrative problems and issues . When a good Doctor, a Chief of Staff has left , because the work environment has turned sour, how viable is our NIH and how open and honest is the dialog that is needed to rectify the issues at NIH

  3. Justin Case June 15, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    I have been reading all the published articles and even attended last Wednesday’s “Town Hall” meeting regarding the unionizing nurses vs the management at NIH. In every single instance is has been the NIH management who has presented facts and figures supporting their decisions/actions. On the other hand, the unionizing nurses have maintained a steady drumbeat of grievances, accusations, and half-truths amounting to little more than an impassioned plea. I’ve heard no facts, no specifics, no numbers, or any other information that supports the unionizing nurses’ statements. If this conflict were to be decided based solely on the facts presented so far, I’d have to say that the NIH management wins hands down. We all tend to believe the words of people we know and like, but I caution everyone to resist the urge do take that path. To believe someone merely on that basis means you will never arrive at the truth. Anyone can put forth a heart-felt argument but without the facts to back it up its nothing more than an opinion; personal in nature and limited in value!

    • Joe June 16, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

      @Justin- You’ve presented the same opinion in previous posts. Have you personally spoken one on one with Dr Tom Boo or perhaps a nurse outside of these public forums? I doubt it and I encourage you to do so. The facts you will hear go beyond dollars and cents to the core of patient care.

      • Shelby Schneider June 17, 2015 at 8:06 am #

        Thank you for saying that, Joe!!!!

  4. muttmaster June 16, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    We seem to have a failure of communication. Aggrieved nurses shouldn’t try to vent through the media, it just make things worse. Signs down, just ask Admin to put it back up. Don’t assume Admin took it down intentionally. If it has come to this level of animosity and distrust, I am not sure I want to be sick and be taken cared of by pissed off nurses. Statements from the Admin can be helpful to set the record right, but why advertise nurses salaries? Do they make enough so they should just shut up? Not very helpful stats. Stats such as how many union nurses and total nurses may shed light on how many aggrieved nurses we have. Both sides should try not play the PR game in the press, everybody looses. Just my two cents.

    • Vanessa June 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

      Great point, Muttmaster! Why did this press release only publish the just the nurse’s salary’s? If NIH is going to announce to the community how much nurses make, why not a press release regarding what the CEO earns? What NIH Environmental Services earn? What the Rural Health Clinic Aides earn? What your child’s favorite teacher earns? What the local police officer earns? As a taxpayer, Americans have right to know how much we are paying our government employees. Anyone interested in these facts can find the info at .

  5. Ca Administrator June 16, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    I don’t really know what exactly is going on with the nurses and administrators at NIH, but I can tell you that Nurses that work for the state of California make $44.23-$55.36 an hour. They also get a additional pay differential for working the night shift.

    FMLA is a federally protected law that this hospital has to provide to the nurses and any other employees that need to use it. They aren’t giving them anything that any other employee is not entitled to. They are entitled to 12 weeks a year. I realize they say they get 16, but I bet there is some fine line language to get the additonial 4 weeks.

    “•In the last two years, there have been three instances where an employee was separated from NIH due to medical issues. One was separated after 23 weeks, one after 20 weeks and one after 16 weeks.”

    Seems to me they didn’t waste any time getting rid of any of these employees. These are also probably employees that desperately need their medical insurance. You also have to factor in that the two nurses that got to stay until their 20 & 23rd week probably had time on the books and stayed until that was used up.

    Seems pretty uncaring to me. Inhumane might be too strong of a accusation, but I would say definitely uncaring.

  6. Philip Anaya June 16, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    Change of venue : Northern Inyo Hospital Board Meeting

    Cerro Coso College, 4090 W. Line Street Room 102, Wednesday June 17,2015 @ 5:45pm

    • Elizabeth June 17, 2015 at 6:40 am #

      Wow, it is so nice to see Sierra Wave posting both sides of this argument again!

  7. Philip Anaya June 19, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    They, the NIH Administration and Board, change the venue in anticipation of a crowd both care givers and members of the public . Of course they fail to place the issue they know is coming on the Agenda. There is no discussion , decision or direction given to the Administration by the NIH Board via the “Brown Act” when the concerns of the care givers and the community are expressed during the “Public Comment Period”. This seems to be an egregious irresponsible legal display of power from within the NIH Administration and Board.


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