MNA Blog

Recent news and updates from the Minnesota Nurses Association.


By Mathew Keller, RN JD
Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist


Despite all of its bad deals and big debts, Allina Health is still making piles of money. As this space detailed back in June, Allina has made more than $1.3 billion dollars in net revenue over the past 6 years for which financial disclosures are available. That’s after expenses, including salaries, $23.9 million in executive pay, millions to buy out McDonalds’ lease, $60 million lost on bad loans, and so on.

While Allina is a not-for-profit company, it still has to pay taxes on things like capital gains.
… Read more about: Where Are Your Medicare Dollars Taking a Vacation?  »

Contact: Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662

Barbara Brady
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845

(St. Paul) – August 26, 2016 – Nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association filed a 10-day notice of intent to strike with Allina Health Friday morning. Nurses will begin an open-ended Unfair Labor Practice strike beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, September 5, Labor Day.

“Nurses sent a message to Allina again last week with an overwhelming vote to reject the employer’s latest offer and authorize a strike,” said MNA Executive Director Rose Roach. “Nurses are exercising the voice they have, and as of 6 a.m.
… Read more about: Press Release: MNA Nurses Set to Strike Allina Health on Labor Day  »

Contact: Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662

Barbara Brady
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845

(Duluth) – August 19, 2016 – After months of trying to negotiate a fair contract, MNA nurses at Twin Ports Essentia Health hospitals are going to the public with their concerns about the hospital system’s refusal to respond to safe staffing proposals by sponsoring billboards in Superior and Duluth.

The billboards read, “Has Essentia lost the care in healthcare? Ask an MNA nurse about staffing.”

“Nurses hope that publicly calling Essentia out on our concerns over safe staffing will bring them back to the negotiating table ready to agree to a contract that benefits all involved: nurses, our hospitals, patients, and our community,” said Essentia Twin Ports MNA Co-Chair Steve Strand.
… Read more about: Press Release: Nurses sponsor billboards to call attention to Essentia’s refusal to negotiate safe staffing  »


By Mathew Keller

Integrity. Respect. Trust. Compassion. Stewardship. These are the core values of Allina Health. The Oxford dictionary defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” So why, then, does Allina continue to tell its nurses that it needs to shift $10 million in healthcare costs to them? In 1,664 pages of financial disclosures to the IRS and its bond investors from 20012014, Allina never once represents that it is anything but highly profitable, making a reported $1.3 billion dollars in net revenue over the past 6 years alone.
… Read more about: Allina Health Integrity and Irony  »


By Mathew Keller

and Jordan Ash

We’ve seen that Allina is taking on more and more debt, $880 million in all. We’ve seen who benefits from that debt (hint: look to the Board). Today, we look into a particularly bad deal Allina made with UBS Securities and another big bank; a deal that led to losses in the tens of millions, a lawsuit; and the intervention of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Auction rate securities (ARS). They were popular back before the financial crisis, and the big banks loved them. Like most of the financial instruments that tanked in the recent recession, though, they’re completely made up.
… Read more about: Allina’s Bad Deals and Big Debts  »

Ilhan Omar
Candidate for MN Rep.

By Laura Sayles

MNA Governmental Affairs Specialist
Congratulations MNA Endorsed Candidates!

In Tuesday’s Minnesota Primaries, many MNA endorsed candidates who had primary opponents won their races and will move on to November’s General Election.

MNA was proud to be one of only two unions to endorse Ilhan Omar in her race for the DFL endorsement in House District 60B.  MNA nurses were impressed by the work she has done on winning paid parental leave for Minneapolis city employees, banning environmentally harmful containers, restricting the use of pollinator-harming pesticides, and expanding the use of restorative justice in Minneapolis.  Her story of her entry into politics through interpreting for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses leading to her to work for change at the grassroots level inspired MNA nurses to support her bid for the DFL endorsement. 
… Read more about: MNA Endorsed Candidates Move On to General Election  »

board of directors

By Mathew Keller


Jordan Ash

Allina is quickly racking up the amount of debt it carries, increasing its total obligation over the past ten years by 60 percent to $880 million. The magic question, however, is why Allina needs $880 million of debt. Why, if it is willing to spend such amounts on expansion and executive pay, is it so unwilling to invest in the healthcare of its nurses?­ As with all things big business, just follow the money.

Money which, in this case, leads directly to Piper Jaffray.  As you recall, Piper

Jaffray has had a huge hand in increasing Allina’s debt obligations, underwriting in conjunction with other banks $1.6 billion dollars in loans to the healthcare company since 1993.
… Read more about: Who is telling Allina to Mortgage the Future of Patient Care?  »

Nurse Talking To Senior Female Patient In Hospital Bed

By Mathew Keller RN, JD

Mathew Keller, RN JD Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist
Mathew Keller, RN JD
Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist

Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist

Limousine service, upgraded television setsnurse/patient “scripts,” gourmet food service, nurse uniform requirements – hospitals all over the U.S. are offering more “customer-centric” patient care in order to increase patient satisfaction scores, which are becoming more and more important for Medicare reimbursements.

These efforts often have unintended consequences.

In the first place, customer-centric interventions rarely (if ever) improve the quality of care patients receive: rather, they merely improve patients’ perceptions of care.
… Read more about: Essentia Health: Listen to your nurses  »

Allina big debt


Mathew Keller and Jordan Ash

Allina Health claims it needs to take $10 million out of the pockets and healthcare of its nurses. The question is why, which begs a look at Allina’s finances. A check of Allina’s books, however, makes one question whether the company really is in good hands.

For starters, the amount Allina pays annually to big banks has grown to $60 million dollars a year. Allina’s current debt of $880 million dollars, in fact, represents a whopping 60 percent increase from just 10 years ago when Allina had $550 million in debt.
… Read more about: Allina’s Debt to Big Banks Increases by 60 Percent  »


By Megan Gavin

MNA Education Specialist

I opened a card last week that read, “Thank you so much for granting me hardship funds…without your generosity and assistance I don’t know how I’d get through. It is with heart-felt gratitude that I write to thank you all, for all you’ve continued to do throughout our difficult contract negotiations. Please know how grateful I truly am.” The sender continues with an anecdote about her personal experience and how these funds helped her, and I was in tears before finishing.

As MNA’s education specialist, I’ve been putting together workshops on the community resources for union members during a strike.
… Read more about: What can you get for $1.67 a month?  »