Facility workers fired for fleeing during Hurricane Ivan

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Officials at a few Mississippi nursing homes and hospitals last week fired some employees who fled as Hurricane Ivan approached.

Citing hurricane-work policies that require employees who are scheduled to work at the time of a catastrophic event to show up or risk termination, officials at Dixie White House, a nursing home in Pass Christian, MS, and Hancock Medical Center, Bay St. Louis, MS, fired some employees by late last week. Officials at other facilities in the area said they were reviewing similar cases.

Employees of nursing homes are expected to work during a hurricane if they are scheduled to, according to Scott Bell, president of Delta Health Group, the company that operates Dixie White House and four other Mississippi nursing home facilities. An added benefit is that workers are also allowed to use the nursing home as a shelter for their family members, Bell noted.

Cases of fleeing employees were the exception not the rule, according to Diane Gallagher, a spokeswoman for Memorial Hospital, Gulfport, who said the response of the facility's employees and medical staff was commendable.