In Minn., Striking Nurses, Allina Return To The Bargaining Table
In other state hospital news, two Connecticut state agencies rule against a challenge by hospitals within the state to a tax's legality. The next step will be for the hospitals to take the state to court.
The Associated Press:
Striking Nurses, Allina Health Agree To Bargaining Session
Union nurses and Allina Health will return to bargaining for the first time since nearly 5,000 nurses at five Minneapolis-area hospitals went on strike nearly three weeks ago. The Minnesota Nurses Association and Allina say federal mediators asked both sides to resume negotiations. A session is scheduled Tuesday. (9/24)
The Star Tribune:
Respected By Nurses, Allina CEO Wheeler Is Tested By Strike
In her first round of nurse contract talks since becoming Allina’s CEO, [Penny] Wheeler has become a lightning rod, deciding to take on the nurses’ costly health insurance benefits even as competing hospital systems punted on the issue and quickly reached three-year contracts that only changed nurses’ wages.Her stance, to some, has put her in conflict with her own views. In the past, she has questioned the value of high-deductible health insurance, and yet now she wants to move nurses from their low-deductible union plans to a menu of lower-cost Allina corporate options. Two of those options are high-deductible plans.
The CT Mirror:
State Rejects Challenge To The Hospital Tax
Two state agency heads have ruled against Connecticut hospitals’ claims that the state tax on hospitals is illegal, clearing the way for the industry to take the state to court. Hospitals have long bristled at the tax, imposed during a budget crisis in 2011 and increased by hundreds of millions of dollars since then. Last year, 24 hospitals and the Connecticut Hospital Association challenged the tax, seeking declaratory rulings on its legality from the departments of social services and revenue services. On Thursday, Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby and Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin B. Sullivan issued a 179-page ruling rejecting the hospitals’ arguments that the tax violated the Connecticut and U.S. constitutions, as well as state statute. (Becker, 9/23)
And in Washington state -
Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak At UW Medical Center Appears Contained
An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the University of Washington Medical Center that sickened four people, including two who died, appears to be contained, King County health officials said Saturday. It has been 11 days since UW Medicine officials installed filters, flushed water systems and took other steps in the hospital’s Cascade Tower to prevent the spread of Legionella bacteria, which cause the type of serious pneumonia. (Aleccia, 9/24)