July 2, 2014
SEIU NURSE ALLIANCE ROUNDUP
Critical Month for Healthcare Law
This summer has brought many surprises already. While the shocking defeat of Congressman Eric Cantor — who led 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, supported Medicaid block grants and wanted to turn Medicare into a voucher system — may seem like good news, we should be worried that even that track record isn’t extreme enough for his Tea Party successor. It just reminds me how much is at stake in the 2014 elections for the Affordable Care Act.
A divided Supreme Court issued a decision in the Hobby Lobby case that is bad for women’s health, bad for working families and bad for basic workplace protections. It came down just minutes after the Harris v Quinn ruling, another closely divided ruling by the conservative wing of the Court that upheld collective bargaining rights for Illinois home care workers but also said that individuals, could reap the benefits of collective bargaining without paying a “fair share” fee.
The Hobby Lobby ruling stripped away the right of millions of working women and their families to make their personal healthcare decisions in consultation with their healthcare providers — not their bosses. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry immediately issued a statement warning that this decision -which Justice Ginsberg called “startling” in its breadth — could harm not only women but all workers. As nurses, we’ve advocated for decades for our patients, and we will continue this fight.
We have a lot of work to do, but I can’t imagine better colleagues with whom to be in this fight!
In this issue we also highlight:
Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare
News From The States
California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
Nurses Joined President Obama at the White House to Discuss Immigration
On Monday, June 9, President Obama met with nurses from across the country in the Oval Office, to discuss common sense immigration reform. The President underscored his commitment to passing reforms and highlighted the importance of this issue to nurses and medical professionals.
SEIU was represented by Janielle Alana Bennett, Care Pavillion , Folcroft, PA; Patricia Noemi Lopez, Riverside Community Hospital, Riverside, CA; Mary Malaney, Meriter Hospital, Madison, WI; Lejla Sivonjich, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA; Alvin Nadal Vitug, Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Simi Valley, CA; and Eva Zavatti, St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Hobe Sound, FL. These SEIU nurses shared their own immigration stories and their experiences with workers and their families from the frontlines of care.
LETTERS: SEIU-member nurses key great care
SEIU member Michael Collins sets the record straight in a letter published in the Las Vegas Sun Journal.
To the editor:
Richard Berman, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist for special interests and large corporations, recently wrote a commentary in which he offered a dangerous misdiagnosis of what’s ailing American hospitals (“Congress must curb SEIU’s health care imposition,” June 5 Review-Journal). As a nurse for 30 years who has spent my career making patients my priority, I would like to share my perspective on why the united voices of nurses and other health care providers make an enormously positive difference for patients.
To read the full letter, click here: http://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/letters-seiu-member-nurses-key-great-care
US Labor Secretary Perez Meets with SEIU Nurses in Pittsburgh
US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez traveled to Pittsburgh on June 11 to meet with frontline nurses at Allegheny General Hospital and recognize their collaborative work with hospital administrators as a national model of innovation for improving patient care and satisfaction while reducing costs.
“One of the best way to change the culture at AGH is to involve as many nurses as possible in studying a process, seeing its successes and flaws and leading the way to help fix it,” said AGH Chapter President Cathy Stoddart, RN. “Our work has been made possible because we as union nurses have the ability to have a significant voice on the job and the ability to foster strong, collaborative relationships with hospital administrators through our union.”
RNs have been working with management at AGH since 2003 to create unit-based Patient Care Committees and a hospital-wide Nurse Collaboration Council allowing nurses and management to think through issues together to make the hospital run more smoothly. Through these, nurses and management launched a variety of initiatives to improve quality and contain costs.
SEIU Nurse Named Citizen of the Day
Vanessa Patricelli, a SEIU 1199NW member, was named Washington State Citizen of the Day by Governor Jay Inslee for her work for her work reaching out and educating those in her community about the expansion of Medicaid and about the new healthcare law.
Patricelli is a 31-year-old registered nurse who works at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Back in November, she took two weeks off from her job to work full time promoting the new healthcare law.
In addition to setting up information tables at her hospital and talking to people on the street, Patricelli and her fellow SEIU 1199NW members spent time visiting small business owners in the Seattle area. They let them know how they could guide their employees to some of the lower-cost or even free healthcare plans that were starting Jan. 1.
Read the full post here: http://www.seiu.org/2014/01/he-asked-for-a-large-stack-of-fliers-and-business.php#more
News Nurses Need
Uninsured rate holds at record low in survey
The ratio of those without health insurance has fallen dramatically since last year but held steady at a new low of 13.4 percent for May and April, according to a poll.
A Gallup survey published Thursday shows the uninsured in the U.S. dropped from 17.4 percent in the last quarter of 2013, when HealthCare.gov launched, to 15.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, before eventually landing at 13.4 percent.
“The uninsured rate for U.S. adults appears to be leveling off since the open enrollment period for buying health insurance coverage through the marketplace ended in mid-April,” said Gallup. “Across nearly every major subgroup, the uninsured rate is lower now compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.”
Read the full article in the Hill: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/208340-uninsured-rate-holds-at-record-low-in-poll#.U5BuLJb2Nq8.twitter%23ixzz33lr4gHXf#ixzz34oTJquMj
Parkland’s Unique Wage Plan Spurs Employee Pay Discussion
At a meeting of the board, Parkland Health and Hospital System decided to raise the wages of their minimum wage employees with funds from an executive bonus pool. This decision created a great deal of discussion. Read an excerpt of the article below:
What makes the Parkland situation “unusual,” according to Reich, is how the wage hike is being funded. The cost of the new wages for low-income earners will be covered from an executive incentive pool, said Jim Dunn, Parkland’s executive vice president and chief talent officer. And this is not a one-time event. Dunn said the new $10.25-per-hour rate will become system policy going forward, even if Parkland doesn’t have executive incentives to cover the costs.
It sounds like a bold initiative for a safety net health system that nearly had its Medicare and Medicaid funding revoked, lost more than $450 million from operations in 2013, and is wrapping up construction of a new $1.3 billion hospital.
“If there is a year that Parkland does not have (incentives), Parkland will find a way to fund the increase through other efficiencies,” Dunn said. “We anticipate this will be very sustainable, post the move into the new hospital.”
“Our entry-level positions are just as valuable as our executives,” he added.
Click here to read the full article at Modern Healthcare: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140613/NEWS/306139940&utm_source=AltURL&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=am?AllowView=VXQ0UnpwZTVEUFdkL1IzSkUvSHRlRU92ams4ZEErSmQ=&mh
Countdown to Coverage
Bloomberg News Poll: People Don’t Want Repeal
The Washington Post provides an analysis of the new Bloomberg News poll and finds that it will pose an additional problem to those who simply refuse to accept the reality that, while disapproval of the law remains high, the American people still want to stick with it:
What is your opinion of the health care law?
It should be repealed: 32
It may need small modifications, but we should see how it works: 56
It should be left alone: 10
So 66 percent support giving the law a chance to work with possible small modifications or leaving it alone, versus only 32 percent who want it done away with. This seems like fair wording.
To read the full story at the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/06/12/morning-plum-republicans-still-not-winning-argument-over-obamacare/
See the Bloomberg News poll: http://media.bloomberg.com/bb/avfile/rx0TpnA7.IPc
For Women Just Out Of Jail, Health Care Could Be Key To Better Life
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is implementing a new city law allowing its staff to enroll inmates into health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they’re released will help prevent them from committing another crime and coming back.
Read the full article in Kaiser Health News: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2014/June/12/For-Women-Just-Out-Of-Jail-Health-Care-Could-Be-Key-To-Better-Life.aspx
Report: Medicaid expansion would help thousands of uninsured veterans
The chief executive of the Kansas Hospital Association, Tom Bell, penned an opinion piece highlighting the negative impact that the refusal to expand Medicaid is having on veterans and their families. Below is an excerpt from Bell’s opinion piece:
But for many, a local access point is problematic. One in 10 of the nation’s nonelderly veterans has no health insurance and does not use VA services — that’s 1.3 million veterans. Nearly 950,000 of their family members also lack coverage. That’s because nearly half of uninsured veterans have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level — $26,951 for a family of three. At this level, veterans would be eligible for coverage under Medicaid as states expand their programs. In fact, if all states would expand Medicaid, nearly half of the nation’s uninsured veterans would have access to affordable health coverage.
For states like Kansas, that have rejected Medicaid expansion for the last two years, the situation is unfortunate. Kansas has 15,000 veterans and 10,000 family members without health insurance. Using the national percentage of 48.8 percent of veterans with incomes below the poverty level, the estimated number of Kansas veterans and family members who would be eligible for Medicaid coverage under expansion would be 12,200.
To read the full opinion piece click here: http://media.khi.org/news/documents/2014/06/11/Opinion_Tom_Bell_-_Veterans_Deserve_Better_June_11.pdf
To read the article about the release in the Kansas Health Institute click here: http://www.khi.org/news/2014/jun/11/report-medicaid-expansion-would-help-thousands-uni/
To read the Urban Institute Report click here: http://media.khi.org/news/documents/2014/06/11/Uninsured_Veterans.pdf
What We’re Reading
The App-Based Healthcare of the Future
At the Northside Festival in Brooklyn on Thursday (6/12/14), a small panel convened to discuss the ways our data-driven tech scene can work to the advantage of every patient in health care–but hasn’t. Called “Empowering the Most Important Caregiver: The Patient,” members included Chris Bradley, CEO of Mana Health, Mario Schlosser of health insurance startup Oscar, Rachel Winokur of Aetna’s tech services division Healthagen, and Paul Wilder of The NY eHealth Collaborative.
“All of this data is being generated in healthcare,” said Chris Bradley, “but it’s not helping the people who need it most.”
Recent announcements from companies like Apple suggest that the next big push in tech is going to be for our health.
To see the full article click here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/13/the-app-based-healthcare-of-the-future.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_afternoon&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_afternoon&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet
‘Bionic Pancreas’ Works for 5 Days in Outpatient Settings
Progress toward the development of a closed-loop “artificial pancreas” has hit a new milestone, improving blood glucose levels in adults and teenagers with type 1 diabetes for 5 days straight in real-world settings.
The findings, from 2 separate studies of 20 adults and 32 adolescents, respectively, were presented here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2014 Scientific Sessions by Steven J. Russell, MD, PhD, of the diabetes unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. The study results were also simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Read the full article at Medscape: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/826779
The Nurse Alliance Roundup is now online.
Want to see past issues of the Nurse Alliance newsletter, beginning in 2013? Now you can.
Congratulations to SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin nurse Ann Louise Tetreault for receiving the Nurse Excellence Award!! Ann Louise is a UWHCA Chapter Steward and is SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Treasurer. You are recognized by nurses across the country for your leadership promoting the benefits of collective bargaining. Your employer and patients recognize you for your nursing skill and compassion. Congratulations to all SEIU Nurses for Excellence every day in caring for your patients!
Management Economic Proposal:
• Discontinue Custom Health Insurance Plan. This could make the Tiered Plan more expensive down the road.
• Hard Freeze your Pension. Anyone hired after December 1, 2013 will be ineligible to participate in the pension plan.
• Give a 5¢ raise in 2014 and 2015.
• Keep Short Term Medical Disability (STMD) as is. However, this is NOT off the table. They have not withdrawn it and can propose changes to it at any point in bargaining.
Union Economic Proposal:
• Wage increase of 5%. Meriter is a profitable hospital and can afford to raise the wages of the backbone of the hospital.
• Health Insurance premiums to be paid by Meriter at 100% for all plans. The cost of health insurance keeps going up. As healthcare workers, we deserve health insurance we can afford.
• Tuition Assistance increased to $6,000 max from $4,000. Many of us are going back to school to offer more as employees and to our families. More tuition assistance = a stronger workforce.
Be at Bargaining. Show Management you won’t give in to huge cuts to your retirement.
Bargaining is held @ the Quality Inn on Fish Hatchery Rd. just after Copps every Tues, Wed, Thurs, until March 9th. Join us anytime between 7:30a and 6p
Gov. Scott Walker needs to talk. He should hold a news conference to explain how much he knew about a secret email system as Milwaukee County executive. And he needs to let reporters ask as many questions as they want.
Last week, the Meriter Service and Support Bargaining Team sat down to put the issues most important to SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members at Meriter Hospital on the table. The Meriter Service and Support union bargaining team is fighting hard to attain better staffing levels and workloads. Meriter wants their retirement.
Management put very few issues on the table and even less that aimed to create a better work environment. Instead, they put retirement, health insurance and economic issues at the forefront.
The Union Bargaining Team asks Meriter employees to take a stand and attend Bargaining. Say no to cuts to retirements and futures.
Contract negotiations will be held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, February 11 – 13th, 7:30am-7:00pm at the Quality Inn on Fish Hatchery Road at the corner of Cahill Main (just after Copps) in Fitchberg.
This paper is a summary of key issues raised by the transition plan announced by the hospital. Our collective voice has had an impact. CLICK HERE to stand with other UW Health Employees to maintain an independent voice for workers at UWHC and to have a say in our working conditions.
The UWHC Transition Plan in response to ACT 10 was unveiled in parts by the hospital shortly before and within days after the December 4th rally and petition delivery to Donna Katen-Bahensky and the UWHC Authority Board. Even though the hospital receives no direct taxpayer support and hospital management states they did not ask to be included in Act 10, the transition plan represents a fundamental shift in the management’s approach. The hospital appears to be using Act 10 to reduce not only employee’s independent voice, but also the overall wages, hours and working conditions the unions have helped secure in a long term partnership.
Its not too late. UWHC Can Do Better.
Our unions have approached Ms. Katen-Bahensky and the UWHC Authority Board with a willingness to meet with them to discuss proposals that would maintain a high level of patient care and improve employee morale. The hospital, to date has chosen not to work with the unions in developing its plans. Despite Katen-Bahensky’s claim that ACT 10 prevents her from working with our unions we believe that our relationship can include the following elements:
I. Supplementary Pay – On November 19th, after previously saying no adjustments would be made, the hospital announced that it was going to provide supplementary pay increases to our members to offset the increase cost in health and pension benefit contributions. On July 1, 2014 our members would receive a 4% pay BONUS and every 6 months for the next two years that BONUS would be lessened by 1% until July 1, 2016 when there would be no additional bonus.
Unfortunately, the employee share for pension contribution is increasing by nearly 7%. In addition, monthly health insurance premiums are nearly doubling.
Example: A typical nurse earning $34/hr and working 90% would see an annual increase of over $4,200 in pension contributions. Their monthly insurance premium for a family plan would increase to over $200, with total additional insurance premium increases of over $1,000 annually.
UWHC Could fully reimburse all employees
Over the last 3 years this non-profit health care organization has averaged an 8% profit margin earning $101,473,000 in 2012, and showing a return on equity of 13.10% last year. The UWHC’s growth in equity last year was 15.84% compared to a median of 7% for other Wisconsin hospitals. By any measure the UWHC is doing well financially. The state imposed employee increases in pension and health care costs result in direct savings to the hospital. UWHC is choosing not to fully offset those costs for all employees.
II. Wages for SEIU employees – 1% increase on July 1, 2014 & step increases thru 6/30/15. After July 1, 2016 the hospital plans to increase wages through Merit Pay based on a future comprehensive compensation study. Merit pay without an independent employee voice to monitor its fairness could further damage employee relations.
III. Tuition Reimbursement – After July 1, 2015 all SEIU employees who are first applying for tuition reimbursement regardless of seniority will receive their reimbursement in proportion to their FTE. Currently employees with 5 or more years of UWHC service and/or at least .8 FTE receive 100% reimbursement.
Example: Nurse Betty applies for tuition reimbursement in August 2015 for the fall semester. Betty is a .6 FTE with 6 years of UWHC service. Her tuition for the semester is $2500. Under the Transition Plan she will be reimbursed $1500. Under the SEIU contract she would have been reimbursed $2500.
IV. Overtime – Hours paid for sick leave will no longer be counted toward an employee’s 40 hour work week.
V. Other “known” and possible reduction in benefits and rights:
CLICK HERE to stand with other UW Health Employees to maintain an independent voice for workers at UWHC and to have a say in our working conditions.
Seniority Benefits Reduced
I. Nurse residents who were in the program prior to 7/1/2006 lose their retroactive seniority as all seniority is now hospital seniority.
II. Best qualified will be used instead of ability and job requirements that are comparable, for filling job vacancies.
III. Vacation scheduling may take seniority into consideration.
Patient Care Issues
I. HR will develop general guidelines regarding scheduling.
Issues of concern:
1. Posting and adherence to schedules.
2. Scheduling Options
3. Restrictions on 12 hours shifts and shift rotation
4. Shift Preferences
6. Mandatory Overtime
7. Extra Shift Scheduling
II. Labor Management Meetings will be eliminated.
1. Staffing issues will no longer be brought to and discussed with management by your elected representatives.
2. Employees will no longer be able to send Notice of Risk to Patient Care forms to elected representatives so they can elicit responses from management.
To date, the UWHC Transition Plan is the result of a fatal flaw – the failure to involve employees elected by their peers to develop the plan. UWHC has the ability to remedy this flaw now and after the union contracts expire.
The 5000 Strong Member Action Team is working to change the process and the current plan.
CLICK HERE to stand with other UW Health Employees to maintain an independent voice for workers at UWHC and to have a say in our working conditions.
Join Us For
SEIU Member Forum with Special Guest MARY BURKE
2014 Candidate for Wisconsin Governor
This Sunday January 19, 2014 1:00pm
SEIU Wisconsin State Council
260 E Highland Ave – suite 300 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
With less than a year until the Governor’s seat is up for election, now is the time to find a candidate who will be a champion for us!
The forum will be open to members to share the issues facing the hard working men and women across the state, and to hear Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke speak on how she plans to fight for the families of Wisconsin.
Members will then be invited to fill out a survey reviewing their thoughts on the candidate that will be used in the official endorsement process.
This is a free event open to all members of SEIU
Free transportation may be available from Madison and Racine—call for details
Please RSVP to Dominique Salice at 414.469.4817 or Salice@seiuwi.org
HOSTED BY THE SERVICES EMPLOYEE INTERNATIONAL UNION