Action Speaks Louder

PASNAP complained loudly about nurse staffing levels at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Just like at Crozer.

PASNAP walked off the job at Wilkes-Barre General.  Just like they are doing at Crozer.

But when PASNAP overwhelmingly approved a contract with Wilkes-Barre General, it contained no staffing ratios. Just a wage increase of 7-12%.

In fact, according to Citizensvoice.com, the nurses’ contract “remains silent on the issue they say is most important to their mission of patient care: mandatory staffing levels…”

The fact is that direct care staffing levels at Crozer-Chester Medical Center rank above average for hospitals nationwide – and in most cases, in the top third – when compared to benchmarks established by National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, or NDNQI.

It’s not about staffing. It’s about more money and perks for nurses who already average $103,000 for full time work.

We call upon PASNAP to cease its negative publicity campaign and work with us in good faith to negotiate a fair contract for nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

BargainingFacts #14

With a strike only four days away, Crozer-Chester Medical Center opened yesterday’s bargaining session with a comprehensive “Best Offer,” with significant concessions, on the condition that the parties reach a ratified settlement by September 30, 2014. We also offered to make further compromises if the Union made identified concessions. Our new proposal contained the following:

Wages

  • Some steps providing modest increases for less senior nurses.
  • No step rate reductions for any nurses up through the proposed Step 15.
  • We significantly reduced our proposed step decreases for senior nurses and made them higher than Temple’s current rates.

Weekend Program

  • We offered to continue the weekend program if the Union replaced the current weekend rate with a $5 differential on top of the new proposed step rate. Top-of-scale nurses would still get of $53.12 to $55.91/hr., and with shift differentials some would get more than they do now.

Retirement

  • We are considering the Union’s proposal to base DC Plan contributions on seniority rather than age. This could be a significant advantage to senior nurses.

Health Insurance

  • For the health plan we reduced our proposed spousal, smoker and income surcharges; we agreed with the Union proposal on retail pharmacy copays; and we proposed significant caps on future increases in copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and “out of pocket” maximums.

Staffing

  • We offered to enhance our Staffing and Professional Development Committee agreement by adding that nursing leadership will meet with the Committee to review and discuss the budgeted HPPD model and inform the committee of any changes throughout the year.

Yesterday we signed a Tentative Agreement on “Displacement” and we have already signed TAs on a new “Staffing and Professional Development Committee,” “Monthly Union Management Meetings,” and “Transport Team.” We are making progress in the negotiations, and we are continuing to honor the expired contract as we bargain in good faith for a contract that is fair for the nurses and which the Medical Center can afford.

Our next bargaining session is already scheduled for September 23rd, but yesterday the Union indicated it may cancel. We believe it would be unreasonable and irresponsible for the Union to walk away from the bargaining table while at the same time subjecting the Medical Center, its employees, and the community to a job action. Having a strike solves nothing, but it will cost significant resources and put a settlement further out of reach.

A Message to the Community from Crozer-Keystone Health System Physicians

We are all practicing physicians in the Crozer-Keystone Health System, the county’s largest employer and healthcare provider, and we are extremely proud of that fact. We consider ourselves to be very “pro-nursing” and many of us are involved in activities to further nursing education. We know nurses as friends and family, and as health care providers, we understand the importance of nursing and their relationship with patients.

We were disappointed in the recent articles in the Delaware County Daily Times concerning the current nursing union negotiations. We feel that the articles were very one-sided and portrayed Crozer-Keystone as a system that does not care about its nurses or its patients. There is nothing that can be further from the truth. Crozer-Keystone Health System is a forward-thinking health system that continually works to adjust to the major changes in healthcare. The system is not asking anyone to do anything more than is necessary so that we all can continue to fulfill our mission – which is to continue to provide the best possible care for the residents of Delaware County.

Crozer-Keystone has not (and has never) asked anyone to do anything that is unsafe for patients or bad for patient care. Our staffing levels are safe for patients and are better than national averages. We all would love for a nurse to be able to sit for hours holding one patient’s hand. For better or worse, there is no hospital in the world that would be able to stay in business if they were staffed to that level. Each day, the health system is faced with situations – such as call-outs from staff – and our leaders and managers respond in a way to maintain the care and safety of the patients.

Many of us are residents of Delaware County. We receive our healthcare in the Crozer-Keystone Health System. We have never felt like our care was sub-standard in any way. We have entrusted Crozer and our nurses with our care and with the care of our family members. We have witnessed the dedication to service and quality of care that the system and our nurses have demonstrated.

We come to work each day knowing that we work in a place where we can practice cutting-edge, appropriate medicine regardless of the patient’s background or insurance status. We end each day feeling good knowing we were able to care for our patients in the way that we feel is best for them. We feel that we are lucky to work with great nurses that work hard for each and every patient they encounter every day of the week. The work conditions are not “deplorable” and not unsafe for patients.

The hospitals in the system are constantly being inspected and reviewed by numerous certifying committees, such as the Joint Commission. Crozer-Keystone and its hospitals have won regional and national awards for quality and patient safety, as well as for the services we provide to our community.

We would like to tell the residents of Delaware County to feel confident that Crozer-Keystone will continue to provide outstanding medical care in a safe environment.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Bader, MD, MGA,FACOG
Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Douglas Brunner, M.D.
Chairman, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dina Capalongo, D.O.
Director, Transitional Residency Program

Kevin Caputo, M.D.
Chairman, Psychiatry

John Colombo, M.D.
Chief, Hospitalists

Gregory Cuculino , MD, FACEP
Chairman, Emergency Medicine

Eric Dobkin, M.D.
Chief Quality Officer and VP, Quality and Patient Safety

Christine Donohue-Henry, M.D.
Director, Primary Care

Daniel DuPont, D.O.
Chief, Pulmonary Diseases

Hugh Ehrenberg, M.D.
Director, Maternal Fetal Medicine

Albert El-Roeiy, M.D.
Director, Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility

Sarah Falgowski, M.D.
Medical Director, Community Hospital

Alan Graham, M.D., FACS
Chair, Surgery

David Hadley, M.D.
Director, OB/GYN Residency Program

Guy Hewlett, M.D.
Director, Medical Education

Marcin Jankowski, D.O.
Medical Director, Trauma

Tamika King, M.D.
Emergency Medicine

Joby Kolsun, M.D.
Asst. Vice President, Quality and Patient Safety

David Lainoff, M.D.
Medical Director, Population Health Management

Jeffrey Loose, M.D.
Acting Chair, Pathology

William Mannella, M.D.
Medical Director, Wound Care

Bruce Nisbet, M.D.
Chairman, Emergency Medicine

Nathan Okechukwu, M.D.
Chair, Medicine

Karen Scoles, M.D.
Medical Director, Information Systems

Christopher Stenberg, M.B.Ch.B., FAAP
Chair, Pediatrics

Joseph Stock, M.D.
Chair, Radiology

Susan Williams, M.D.
Senior Physician, Network Affairs

Crozer-Keystone Health System: Continuing to Serve Our Community

Crozer-Chester Medical Center and All CKHS Facilities Will Be Open for Business During Strike by Nurses at Crozer

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Health Professionals (PASNAP) has handed a strike notice to representatives of Crozer-Chester Medical Center. The Union strike is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center only.

We are disappointed that the Union has taken this action. We do not believe the threat of the strike was necessary or helpful to the bargaining process.

Nevertheless, Crozer-Keystone has been preparing for the possibility of a strike for several months. A contingency staffing plan is in place. Licensed, certified, experienced, and well-trained nurses will provide care for our patients and their families at Crozer throughout a strike of any duration.

Despite the strike, we want to assure the community that hospital services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center will be open and available to patients and their families. This includes Emergency Department, operating rooms, critical care and medical surgical units, pediatrics, psychiatry and home care services. The nurses who will staff these and other specialty units have specific experience and training in those specialties.

In fact, all Crozer-Keystone Health System facilities will be open to continue providing outstanding care for our communities during the strike at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Our facilities include:

  • Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland
  • Community Hospital in Chester
  • Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill
  • Springfield Hospital in Springfield
  • Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park
  • Crozer Brinton Lake in Glen Mills
  • Crozer-Keystone Surgery Center at Haverford
  • Media Medical Plaza in Media
  • Philadelphia CyberKnife in Havertown
  • Pioneer Urgent Care in West Chester
  • … and our many other facilities and physician offices.

We deeply appreciate the understanding of our medical staff, employees, patients, and community, and appreciate the many messages of support we have received.

Crozer Nurses: Among the Highest Paid Employees in Delaware County

Crozer-Keystone Health System continues to face significant financial challenges caused by declining reimbursements and inpatient volumes.

Many employees – including executives – have been working under a wage freeze for nearly two years, and have been paying increased costs for benefits.

One group has been largely immune: union-represented RNs at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Graph

Under their now-expired contract, these nurses have the highest pay scale of any hospital nurses in Pennsylvania. In addition, they receive significant and unsustainable premium pay programs such as double-time for the first overtime shift, extra shift bonuses, extra-contractual overtime, double back pay, and weekend pay rates that exceed $60 per hour.

In contract negotiations, Crozer has asked for a reasonable compromise. It proposed that Crozer RNs would be paid at rates comparable to Temple University Hospital, where RNs are represented by the same union. These rates are sustainable, and would offer competitive pay for nurses and more money for patient care.

We call upon PASNAP to cease its negative publicity campaign and work with us in good faith to negotiate a fair contract for nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Media Statement on Strike Notice

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Health Professionals (PASNAP) handed a strike notice to representatives of Crozer-Chester Medical Center at the conclusion of yesterday’s bargaining session. The Union strike is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday, September 21.

We are disappointed that the Union has taken this action, particularly since both parties acknowledged that progress had been made on several significant issues during the two-day session with the federal mediator that began on Sept. 8 and ended at about 7 p.m. yesterday.

Although the pace of negotiations has been slow – largely due to the Union’s refusal to meet more than 2-3 times per month – there has been increasing progress. Yesterday, the parties reached a tentative agreement on seniority-based displacement and the parties agreed to prepare and sign an agreement on that issue. The parties also agreed to resume negotiations with the assistance of the federal mediator on Sept. 17 and Sept. 23.

In light of this, we do not believe the threat of the strike was necessary or helpful to the bargaining process.

Our health system continues to face significant financial challenges caused by declining reimbursements and inpatient volumes. Many employees – including executives – have been working under a wage freeze for nearly two years, and have been paying increased costs for benefits. We were hoping that the Union – whose full-time members averaged $103,000 in pay last year and some of whom made as much as $167,000 last year– would help us work toward a compromise that would provide both competitive rates of pay for the nurses and cost savings that would provide more money for patient care.

Nevertheless, we have been preparing for the possibility of a strike for several months. A contingency staffing plan is in place. Licensed, certified, experienced, and well-trained nurses will be on hand to provide care for our patients and their families at Crozer throughout a strike of any duration.

All hospital services will be open and available to patients and their families, including the Emergency Department, operating rooms, critical care and medical surgical units, pediatrics, psychiatry and home care services. The nurses who will staff these and other specialty units have specific experience and training in those specialties.  

We deeply appreciate the understanding of our medical staff, employees, patients, and community, and appreciate the many messages of support we have received.

A Few Facts About Nursing Contract Negotiations at Crozer

PASNAP (the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals), the Union representing nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, has unfortunately continued to resort to distortions and exaggerations rather than concentrating on negotiations with Crozer.

Contracts should not be negotiated in the media. But as PASNAP has continued its disinformation campaign, we feel that it is necessary to set the record straight.

FACT: Crozer has Acted Lawfully.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued no decisions or complaints against Crozer. In fact, the Board dismissed or deferred to routine contract arbitration seven of wthe nine charges filed by the Union. It “expressed concerns” about the remaining two – one instance in which we asked picketers to move from the congested patient pickup and drop-off area, and another in which we discontinued wage increases called for during the term of the contract – after the contract expired. Since our priority is negotiating a sustainable and competitive contract, we agreed to an informal settlement of these two charges with the Board. But the Union has rejected this settlement, which ironically may result in further delays to wage increases for nurses.

FACT: Crozer Wants a Contract that is Fair for Nurses and the Community.

We have met with the Union seventeen times and exchanged proposals and counterproposals in good faith while attempting to reach agreement on a contract that is sustainable and competitive. The Union has refused to meet more than two or three times per month and has cancelled five meetings to date. A new contract must address severe ongoing operating losses that are due in part to wages for RNs that – at an average of more than $103,000 per year – are the highest rates paid at any hospital in Pennsylvania.

FACT: Crozer Staffing is Already Better than What the Union is Demanding.

The Union is demanding in contract negotiations that we adopt the “California Model.” The California Model is used by very few hospitals outside of that state. There’s a simple reason: it replaces the discretion of nurse managers with rigid ratios that can lead to wasteful overstaffing while failing to prevent understaffing as well. Staffing levels at Crozer are already better than those that would result from the California Model.

FACT: Crozer Executives are Compensated At or Below Median.

Unlike our nurses – whose compensation is higher than any other hospital in Pennsylvania – the compensation packages for our executives fall at or below the median. The formula for the executive pension was introduced in 1998 and has not been changed since.

We call upon PASNAP to cease its negative publicity campaign and work with us in good faith to negotiate a fair contract for nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Updates on contract negotiations between Crozer-Chester Medical Center and CCNA/PASNAP.

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