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Contact: Sam Fettig
MNA nurses delivered opening offers to hospital executives this week, seeking to retain nurses and prioritize quality care at the bedside
Nurses are donning buttons and stickers this week announcing “We Are Ready” to fight to put patients before the profits of hospital CEOs
MNA also launches new paid digital advertising campaign highlighting the crisis patients and staff are facing in Minnesota hospitals
(St. Paul) – March 17, 2022 – This week, over 15,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association in the Twin Cities and Duluth launched a campaign to fight for new contracts at 15 facilities throughout the state. For years Minnesota nurses have been overworked, hospitals understaffed, and patients overcharged by hospital executives trying to boost their bottom lines. Things have only gotten worse during the pandemic. Minnesota nurses are seeking to retain nurses and prioritize quality patient care by ensuring adequate nurse staffing levels and fair compensation and benefits, putting nurses and patients at the bedside ahead of hospital CEOs and corporate profits in the boardroom.
“Our healthcare system is in critical condition. The profit-first policies of hospital CEOs have created a staffing and retention crisis, pushing nurses away from the bedside and putting the bottom line ahead of patient care,” said Mary C. Turner, RN—COVID ICU at North Memorial Hospital, and MNA President. “The future of our healthcare system in Minnesota depends on the choices we make now. Nurses are ready to fight and win to put our patients and our coworkers ahead of the profits of hospital CEOs.”
While hospitals state that they are legally non-profits, the fact remains that many, including those MNA nurses will be bargaining with, operate in a way which maximizes revenues in excess of expenses, a business practice typically referred to as profit. In fact, in a recent poll of Minnesotans conducted by MNA, an overwhelming 88 percent stated their belief that Minnesota hospitals are generally run more like for-profit corporations than like non-profits.
Turner and other North Memorial nurses deliver opening proposals on Tuesday, March 15. Click for full-size.
As negotiations begin, the 15,000 nurses at these Minnesota hospitals are donning pins and buttons announcing “We Are Ready” to fight to put patients before the profits of hospital CEOs. Nurses at several Twin Cities hospitals delivered their opening offers to hospital executives this week, and negotiations will proceed in the coming weeks ahead of the expiration of the nurses’ existing contracts – on May 31, 2022, for nurses in the Twin Cities, and on June 30, 2022, for nurses in Duluth. Throughout negotiations, documents including exchanged offers from both MNA and hospital management will be available at the following link: mnnurses.org/news/negotiation-updates.
MNA nurses at St. Paul Children’s Hospital: “We Are Ready.” Click for full-size.
As nurses fight to put patient care before profits in their new contracts, they are also advocating for the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act at the Minnesota Legislature to address the hospital short-staffing and retention crisis. To inform the public of the serious issues facing patients and nurses in Minnesota hospitals, MNA nurses have launched an extensive new paid digital advertising campaign this month under the tagline: “Patients. Not Profits.”
“Patients. Not Profits.” MNA 60-second digital advertisement. Click here to watch on YouTube.
The new digital advertising campaign is running on online video streaming platforms, social media, and traditional web banner displays. Last fall, a paid campaign of similar scope made nearly 10 million impressions with Minnesota viewers, including over 1 million playthroughs of the video advertisements. The new campaign is online now and will continue to run in the weeks ahead as nurses fight for legislation and contracts which put patients before profits.
“Despite the toll of COVID-19, nurses want to work the jobs they love, but the profit-driven policies of hospital management are making it harder for nurses to stay and provide the care our patients deserve,” said Chris Rubesch, RN—Essentia Duluth, and MNA First Vice President. “Nurses are fed up with corporate healthcare which gives multi-million dollar salaries to CEOs who then close hospitals, cut staff, and charge patients more. We are ready to fight to put community healthcare before corporate profits.”
The same hospital CEOs making millions in compensation and benefits have created a crisis of understaffing and retention in Minnesota hospitals. While CEOs like Sanford’s Kelby Krabbenhoft receive a $50 million golden parachute after spreading medical misinformation, hospitals are not providing nurses at the bedside the staff levels or support they need. The profit-focused, corporate healthcare practices of hospital CEOs are pushing more and more nurses away from the bedside. Nurses are seeking changes in legislation and contracts which will help to retain and sustain Minnesota’s exceptional nurses for the future.
Nurses to Joint Commission: Require safe staffing levels for accreditation
Nurses across the country are calling on The Joint Commission to require “safe staffing ratios” as a condition of accreditation for healthcare facilities, the Chicago Tribune reported March 15.
The nurses, working with an advocacy group called Impact in Healthcare, are also urging the accrediting body to create a clinician-led taskforce to determine appropriate staffing levels for various healthcare settings, annually report hospitals’ compliance with staffing ratios and conduct peer-reviewed research on the topic.
A petition on change.org outlining these asks had more than 544,000 signatures as of March 17, representing the largest healthcare petition on the website this year, according to Michael Jones, a managing director at the company. The nurses’ campaign has also included a March 15 rally at The Joint Commission’s headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., local TV commercials and a mobile billboard traveling to hospitals in the Chicago area.
Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, president and CEO of The Joint Commission, said the pandemic has underscored the importance of increasing the healthcare workforce and prioritizing workers’ health and well-being.
“Staffing is a complex issue that is larger than, and cannot be resolved by, The Joint Commission alone,” he said in a statement to Becker’s. “We look forward to working with other authorities on this issue. The context of Tuesday’s events is not one that is conducive to the meaningful dialogue required. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all or immediate solution. Addressing the root causes of the staffing shortage is the only way to create long-term and sustainable improvement.”
Joint Commission? That’s cute that you think it’s in their best interest to push for safe staffing. Even if they do, it wont be designed my nurses. It will designed by the hospital and Joint Commission. And will be nowhere near what is needed for safe patient care. Think more like MS 8:1 and ICU 4:1, and ED will be anything goes. Has Joint Commission ever done anything that promotes as positive patient outcomes?
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