Coloradans are being replaced with out-of-state healthcare “scabs”.

And what’s worse..? They’re being paid more than the previously fired employees.

Pueblo Honoring Healthcare Workers by Firing Them

By Christina Mascarenas

Pueblo, CO (Nov. 21, 2021) – Pueblo “leaders” will honor our healthcare, essential and front-line workers during the 2021 Courthouse Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 23.

The question is, which healthcare workers are they honoring? The hundreds that have quit or been fired by Parkview Medical Center, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) aka the state hospital and the other medical facilities, or the hundreds of healthcare “scabs” that are being flooded into Pueblo (and throughout the state) to take the place of those who refused the jab?

Pink slips at Parkview

November 1, 2021 was the deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Racheal Morris, Public Relations for Parkview Medical Center said during an interview with KOAA. The 20 percent of employees who have not complied with the statewide mandate will be terminated.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s State Board of Health approved a vaccine requirement for staff in health care settings on August 30, 2021. Ironically, the CDPHE website states they “do not discriminate against any individual …”, except those who want to make their own, personal health decisions.

Parkview kept their word by dismissing 56 employees who refused to comply with the mandate. Morris didn’t seem too concerned when she told KOAA, the hospital has over 3,000 employees so it’s “a loss of less than 2% of the workforce.” Parkview will utilize travel staff and recruit new employees along with “slowing down and/or rescheduling elective surgeries”.

What about the patients who are being told their “elective” surgery is on hold? The surgery that could make them feel better and relieve their pain?

What could possibly happen when a hospital fires their staff? They (Parkview) becomes the first hospital in Colorado to request help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Due to staffing shortages they had to shut down a floor, Morris said, but the hospital is “grateful for the 15 National Disaster Medical System employees” who were deployed to Parkview and made the commitment to leave their families and come down to Pueblo to help since the “circumstances are bad,” Morris told KOAA.

Crisis at CMHIP

The Colorado Mental Health Institute (CMHIP) is one of Pueblo’s largest employers, and like Parkview are replacing Puebloans with out-of-state workers. A source who works with CMHIP, who asked to remain anonymous, said the 516-bed CMHIP acute care psychiatric hospital has 298 vacancies. According to the employee, 100 health care workers quit during the pandemic because they were tired of working 16 hour shifts and approximately 20 of them left due to the vaccine mandate being enforced.

Since CMHIP is a psychiatric hospital and has several accused murders as residents, working long shifts and being short staffed is dangerous to those who go to work and don’t call off.

The employee said, CMHIP has a staffing crisis, but Denver leaders insist the state hospital keep taking in more patients, they refuse to acknowledge the crisis and the possibility of being shut down by the health department. The state hospital has been using a staffing agency since last year, bringing in more than 200 travel staff “from all over the USA” – paying them housing and travel allowances while denying CMHIP employees retention bonuses. “No one cares how much this town is suffering,” the source said.

Flooding the state with replacements

Replacing Coloradans is a theme that originated at the top of Colorado government. The governor of Colorado, Jared Polis has a goal of adding 500 hospital beds according to the Gazette, but (surprisingly) they are short staffed. Some may say this is the consequence of threatening workers with a mandate deadline, firing thousands of healthcare professionals or forcing them into retirement.

Polis’s solution is to bring in out-of-state contractors and retired medical workers the Gazette reported. Doug Farmer who runs the Colorado Health Care Association said it will be near impossible to find 500 staff members “in this environment” to staff the hospitals. Cara Welch of the Colorado Hospital Association said the state of Colorado will “foot the bill for those traveling providers.”

Those who run Colorado (into the ground) have no problem terminating competent healthcare workers with years of invaluable experience, flooding the state with healthcare “scabs” aka travelers, and paying them more than they ever would a Puebloan or Coloradan.

Christina Mascarenas is an independent journalist with a focus on Colorado. She is a fifth generation Coloradan who was born and raised in Pueblo. She earned a master’s in journalism with a concentration in strategic communications from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism.