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RIDOH Working to Ensure Patient Safety During Hospitals' Strike

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is coordinating directly with Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital leadership, and is working closely with healthcare providers and healthcare facilities throughout the state to ensure that safe, quality care continues to be delivered during the work stoppage scheduled for next week.

The United Nurses and Allied Professional (UNAP) Local 5098 has announced a strike of approximately 2,400 healthcare providers at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital. The union represents nurses, technologists, therapists, and support staff, among others. The work stoppage is anticipated to last for four days, starting Monday afternoon.

"The Rhode Island Department of Health's absolute priority during this work stoppage is patient safety and the quality of care," said Dr. Alexander-Scott. "We prepare year-round for a wide range of challenges at Rhode Island hospitals, and we have been preparing for this particular situation for weeks. Department of Health staff will be at the hospitals throughout the strike, and we will be in constant communication with healthcare facilities throughout the state to ensure that all patients continue to receive premium services and care."

Steps being taken by RIDOH in advance of and during the strike include:

- Reviewing a plan from Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital for how they intend to ensure safe, quality care for patients. (RIDOH is providing feedback and input on this plan.) - Expediting the process of issuing licenses to more than 1,000 replacement healthcare providers who will be at the hospitals. In anticipation of a potential work stoppage, RIDOH began the process of getting these individuals licensed on June 1. - Working with the leadership at all other Rhode Island hospitals, as well as EMS providers, to ensure their readiness for any additional patients. RIDOH is also coordinating with other nearby hospitals outside of Rhode Island. - Being on-site at the hospitals throughout the work stoppage.

Licensed healthcare professionals who are not part of the strike are expected to fulfill their professional obligations and work any previously scheduled shifts next week.

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