Amidst pandemic, CIR hosts Zoom press conference calling on NY Hospitals to address the working conditions of resident physicians


MEDIA ADVISORY – March 31st  Zoom Press Conference 12pm EST

Media contact: Susan Naranjo,  (213) 808-2341

SEIU’s Committee of Interns and Residents calls on Mt Sinai Morningside, Mt Sinai West and New York Presbyterian-Brooklyn Methodist to address the working conditions of resident physicians.

New York City. Limited sick time, 80 to 120 hour work weeks, and constantly advocating for patients was the reality for resident physicians before COVID-19 hit New York. Residents are the frontline physicians in New York City’s EDs and ICUs. For the last 6 months residents have been fighting for protections and hospital procedures, the lack of which, the COVID-19 crisis has greatly exacerbated.

“We have attempted to address working conditions at Mt Sinai Morningside, Mount Sinai West and NYP-Brooklyn by negotiating our union contracts. Our concern is that the lack of cooperation and transparency around critical issues could result in an even more bleak experience at the frontline of healthcare,” said Dr. Christina Gomez, CIR Regional Vice President.

The challenge in reaching a fair contract involved convincing multi-millionaire CEOs that we deserve better. One of whom has reportedly fled New York to his Florida vacation home.

At Mount Sinai Morningside and West, early on during the outbreak many staff were told not to wear masks. After we brought up concerns, surgical masks were widely implemented, but N95s have still been in short supply.

”Around the city, hospitals are following guidelines set by the CDC and DOH. Over the past few weeks, these policies have been moving away from preventative measures, and are focusing more on how to keep healthcare workers in hospitals. As a result of inadequate PPE and testing for frontline healthcare workers, many of us could be  carrying COVID-19. Because these policies keep relaxing, we face an enhanced risk of spreading it to our coworkers and to our patients. Our commitment to doing no harm cannot be met if we’re not adequately prepared for this crisis,” said Bryan Doherty, a GI fellow at NYP-Brooklyn Methodist.

Residents have presented both hospitals with ideas about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19 among staff and patients, but the hospitals have been largely unresponsive. For example, at NYP-Brooklyn Methodist, all residents are required to clock in every day, even days we are not working, in order to get paid. We have asked the hospital to eliminate this policy temporarily, because it means that many of us, who otherwise would be staying home, are now required to go out into the community and travel to the hospital by public transit in order to clock in.  Continuing this policy creates a risk of our contracting and spreading the virus that doesn’t need to exist.

We refuse to be silent anymore and we ask for respect as frontline physicians in order to get us all through this pandemic. Our patients deserve better. Our community deserves better. Our city deserves better and so do we.

Who: SEIU/CIR Committee of Interns and Residents.  

When: 12:00 EST-12:30 EST

Supporters: NY City Councilmember Brad Lander. Resident Physicians from Mt Sinai Morning side, west and NYP Methodist. NY City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal.

Where: Zoom Press Conference

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Meeting ID: 741 183 095Password: 307909.

The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is the largest housestaff union in the United States, a local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 17,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care and expanding healthcare access for our communities.