Health Department monitoring patient safety during strikeby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health will be monitoring patient safety during today's nursing strike.
The department is dispatching six nurse investigators from the Office of Health Facility Complaints to each of the 14 hospitals affected by the strike.
Spokesman John Stieger says investigators will talk with patients, family members and staff about any strike-related safety concerns.
"The investigators will be monitoring the situations in the hospitals, they will be handing out their business cards to people should they, any patients or family members feel they want to express some concerns or lodge a complaint," he said.
Stieger says the department doesn't anticipate any problems, but the agency wants to be prepared just in case. He says if investigators get too busy, they can call in more investigators to help them.
Steiger said if the investigators see any problems they can urge the nursing staff at the hospital to intervene.
"Otherwise, they could always talk directly to hospital administrators and express their concerns to them," he said. "They will also be able to contact managers back at our department if they feel anything deserves more in-depth follow up such as a formal investigation."
The investigators have been specifically trained to monitor care in hospitals.