Healthcare workers call for dissolution of Hennepin Healthcare board to protect future of Hennepin County Medical Center   

CEO Jennifer DeCubellis and current Board of Directors fail to address crisis of patient care, nurse retention, and workplace violence


Contact: Sam Fettig
(c) 612-741-0662

Lauren Bloomquist
(c) 651-376-9709

WATCH: HCMC healthcare workers speak out on the need for accountability at HHS. [Link]

(St. Paul) – April 2, 2024 – Nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) and healthcare workers from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Hennepin County Association of Paramedics and EMTs (HCAPE) today called on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to initiate dissolution of the Hennepin Healthcare System (HHS) Board of Directors.

“We find ourselves at a pivotal moment where the very essence of our healthcare system is at risk,” said Jeremy Olson-Ehlert, RN and MNA Co-Chair at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). “Behind the walls of statistics and reports lies the profound truth about the human cost of decisions made without empathy, without understanding, and without public transparency. After months of inaction from hospital leadership, Hennepin County Commissioners must use the powers given to them in state statute to take direct control of this critical public health system.”

In response to healthcare workers’ demands in recent months, Hennepin County Commissioners approved additional funding meant to protect workers’ healthcare benefits and imposed new checks on HHS spending on executive compensation. Despite these steps, HHS executives continue to refuse public transparency and accountability on where public funds are spent.

Meanwhile, the crisis of worker retention and patient care is only growing worse. A recent data review found that BIPOC nurses are 76 percent more likely to experience discipline in their jobs than white nurses at HCMC. After cutting worker health plans, executives took no steps to reduce workplace violence or retain current nurses and other care staff in the hospital. Now, patients who come to HCMC face some of the lowest care staff levels in the Twin Cities metro, meaning they are waiting longer with their call light on for much-needed medication, for help walking to the bathroom, or to have their questions and concerns heard and addressed.

When workers raise these concerns to hospital leaders, they are ignored, talked down to, or shouted over by HHS leaders who are meant to be most responsive to the care and working conditions in our hospital. That is why healthcare workers are calling on Hennepin County Commissioners to take drastic, urgent action to protect the future of HCMC.

Minnesota law authorizes the Hennepin County Board to “dissolve the [HHS] corporation, reorganize the corporation, or remove the entire corporate board in order to resume management of Hennepin County Medical Center.” In a letter delivered to county commissioners on March 26, MNA nurses called on the board to use this power “to hold hospital leadership accountable for their actions, which are eroding the foundation of our esteemed public institution.” A bill currently before the Minnesota Legislature, H.F. 4744 / S.F. 4355, would give the Hennepin County Board of Directors more budgetary oversight of HHS to ensure fiscal transparency and responsibility at the public health system.

1 Comment

  1. Patients need RNs at their bedside to provide adequate surveillance of their status, assessment of vital functions and early detection of symptoms. It is the most imperative yet often invisible thing RNs do to protect their patients and create an environment that focuses on interventions that heal. Unsafe staffing jeopardizes the ability of nurses to provide safe and effective care. HHS historically had a reputation focused on patient outcomes and surveillance…..this corporate focused boards of Directors and executives have seemingly mucked that all up. New Board of Directors seems necessary.

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