Frustrated Health Care Workers Turn To Labor Unions For Help
They say they are bitterly disappointed by their employers’ and government agencies’ response to the pandemic. “We wouldn’t be alive today if we didn’t have the union,” Elizabeth Lalasz, a Chicago public hospital nurse and steward for National Nurses United, told The New York Times.
The New York Times:
Health Care Unions Find A Voice As The Pandemic Rages
The unions representing the nation’s health care workers have emerged as increasingly powerful voices during the still-raging pandemic. With more than 100,000 Americans hospitalized and many among their ranks infected, nurses and other health workers remain in a precarious frontline against the coronavirus and have turned again and again to unions for help. (Philbrick and Abelson, 1/28)
Out Of Sight, Cleaners Perform Critical Work In COVID ICUs
Clad head to toe in protective gear, doctors and nurses cluster around the patient, fighting to keep the coronavirus-stricken man alive. Just behind them, unnoticed and unheard, a worker in the same protective gear goes about an entirely different task: disinfecting surfaces, collecting waste in biohazard bags, unobtrusively inching past beds and life-support machinery to mop the floor. (Becatoros, 1/28)
In other health care industry news —
Hospitals Face Retroactive Medicare Pay Cuts For Outpatient Exception Denials
CMS may claw back millions of dollars in payments after the agency denied reimbursement rate cut exemptions for hospitals' off-campus outpatient facilities. CMS rejected more than 60% of the mid-build exceptions, which would preserve hospitals' higher reimbursement rates if they had the documentation to prove their off-campus outpatient departments were being constructed when the Bipartisan Budget Act was passed in 2015. (Kacik, 1/28)
If This Self-Sufficient Hospital Cannot Stand Alone, Can Any Public Hospital Survive?
In America’s health care system, dominated by hospital chain leviathans, New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, is an anomaly. It is a publicly owned hospital that boasts good care at lower prices than most and still flourishes financially. Nonetheless, New Hanover County is selling the hospital to one of the state’s biggest health care systems. The sale has stoked concerns locally that the change in ownership will raise fees, which would not only leave patients with bigger bills but also eventually filter down into higher health insurance premiums for Wilmington workers. (Rau, 1/29)