Overall Cut In Wages Adds To Nurse's Furore

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    by [color=#0000a0]lena h. sun
    washington post staff writer
    thursday, october 7, 2010



    it was bad when washington hospital center [color=#0000a0]fired 18 nurses during last winter's snowstorms. it got worse when the nurses' union and management failed to agree on a new contract over the summer. then, last week, the hospital effectively cut take-home pay for most nurses. as whc nurses voted overwhelmingly tuesday night to join the largest nurses' union in the nation, labor relations at the area's biggest hospital were tense.

    read full story here:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...100607083.html
    StNeotser and lindarn like this.
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  3. 20 Comments so far...

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    I cant believe any place would fire people for not being able to make it in during a natural disaster. I've worked places through riots, fires and earthquakes. Those that could make it in, stay and work extra shifts and cover for those that can't make it. No one gets fired, no one is upset. We just do what needs to be done during crisis times.
    herring_RN and lindarn like this.
  5. 2
    Quote from darlink
    I cant believe any place would fire people for not being able to make it in during a natural disaster. I've worked places through riots, fires and earthquakes. Those that could make it in, stay and work extra shifts and cover for those that can't make it. No one gets fired, no one is upset. We just do what needs to be done during crisis times.
    Tells you something pretty profound about the nature of the management at that place. Nurses are always pretty determined about doing what needs to be done to get their patients cared for. I feel very sure those who didn't make it in simply could not - the whole city was pretty much shut down for a few days there. This kind of thing is typical of the kind of management that looks on everything as an opportunity to punish a worker.
    They've had their own independent union there - a one-hospital organization - which has actually been doing a pretty decent job for a small organization. But now they are part of something bigger, which will give them more clout. I'll predict that management is going to be learning some new lessons.
    Not_A_Hat_Person and lindarn like this.
  6. 0
    Saw that one coming. My pay was cut to LPN wages two months ago. I expect to see more news like this in the future especially when the government takes hold of medical care.
  7. 6
    Quote from Luv2care0907
    Saw that one coming. My pay was cut to LPN wages two months ago. I expect to see more news like this in the future especially when the government takes hold of medical care.
    Why would you assume that government regulation would mean less pay than working for a corporation trying to make money for it's stockholders? Actually the best pay I made in my career as well as best benefits was working for a federal facility.
    Not wanting an argument here, it's just that I keep hearing people make this statement and don't understand the logic of it.
  8. 0
    Quote from bagladyrn
    Why would you assume that government regulation would mean less pay than working for a corporation trying to make money for it's stockholders? Actually the best pay I made in my career as well as best benefits was working for a federal facility.
    Not wanting an argument here, it's just that I keep hearing people make this statement and don't understand the logic of it.
    Possibly, the reason for that is that at the time you were making that money, we weren't moving toward socialized medicine. Socialized medicine does not have enough money to cover the cost of medicine in the way we've been doing things.

    I don't know. All I know is that Medicaid supposedly only pays $18/hour for home care RNs and $16.50 for LPNs. The public schools pay $15.50/hour for an RN to care for the students that need meds etc. Further, they do not pay a night differential. Compare that to the hospital and there is no comparison. A graduate nurse makes at least $20/hour in the hospital.

    Did you work VA? That might explain why.
  9. 1
    One more thing. The public hospital here laid off a huge number of nurses and has been on a hiring freeze for over a year. The private hospitals post jobs but will not hire anyone except those within their ranks or nurses that have worked in the hospital for the last 5 years. Some of them advertise that they will hire but require $800 in CEUs to be considered such as PALS etc. They pay well and have great benefits, but getting a job with them is next to impossible. I wonder though in the future, if we aren't going to see a further decline in pay rates for RNs and/or more problems securing jobs. That's why I have been alert to this type of headline.
    lindarn likes this.
  10. 7
    Quote from Luv2care0907
    Saw that one coming. My pay was cut to LPN wages two months ago. I expect to see more news like this in the future especially when the government takes hold of medical care.
    A couple of points with reference both to this and to your later comments:
    Of course, despite the lies and misinformation being spread widely by various people with an interest in doing so, the government is not "taking hold of medical care"
    I wish it were more so, but it just is not happening. The recently passed law includes a bunch of relatively minor stuff that can be pretty confusing and makes it easy for people to pretend it's bigger thing than it is, but here are the actual major elements of the law:
    1. a requirement that everyone have (private, commercial) health insurance. (with some exceptions for financial hardship) By the way - just a very few years, ago, this part was considered a conservative idea. A few years ago, Republicans and conservatives were pushing this. They called it "requiring people to take responsibility for themselves and not be parasites". Once the Democrats adopted the idea, they instantly forgot it was their idea in the first place and it suddenly became a terrible idea and "government interference in people's lives"
    2. a requirement that all large employers provide(private, commercial) insurance for their employees (or pay a fine)
    3. a requirement that insurance companies actually sell (private, commercial) insurance to those who want to buy it and not deny coverage or charge more for pre-existing conditions. (they can still charge more for age though)
    4. financial aid for people below a certain income level to help them buy (private, commercial) insurance.
    5. raising the income threshold for medicaid as a way to get some of the poor covered more cheaply than they can be with private insurance. (this is the only significant expansion of the government side)
    There's a bunch of other little stuff - studies and demonstration projects and experiments to try to cut costs, but that's all the big stuff - no socialized medicine, no government takeover, no "death panels" etc. You've obviously been lied to by a bunch of people wanting to scare you.
    I am by the way, NOT a fan of this law. I think there are much better, cheaper more efficient ways to get the job done. But for all it's faults, being a "government takeover" etc, is not one of them.

    Oh, and on the later comments on wages: Where are you anyway? Those numbers sound like 20 years ago. But then I live in a state with strong unions. The neighboring hospital to us just negotiated a contract with 20% increases over 4 years, even in this time. But we do hear stories of cuts like that happening in areas with little or no union presence.
    TheCommuter, lindarn, Altra, and 4 others like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from Chico David RN
    A couple of points with reference both to this and to your later comments:
    Of course, despite the lies and misinformation being spread widely by various people with an interest in doing so, the government is not "taking hold of medical care"
    I wish it were more so, but it just is not happening. The recently passed law includes a bunch of relatively minor stuff that can be pretty confusing and makes it easy for people to pretend it's bigger thing than it is, but here are the actual major elements of the law:
    1. a requirement that everyone have (private, commercial) health insurance. (with some exceptions for financial hardship) By the way - just a very few years, ago, this part was considered a conservative idea. A few years ago, Republicans and conservatives were pushing this. They called it "requiring people to take responsibility for themselves and not be parasites". Once the Democrats adopted the idea, they instantly forgot it was their idea in the first place and it suddenly became a terrible idea and "government interference in people's lives"
    2. a requirement that all large employers provide(private, commercial) insurance for their employees (or pay a fine)
    3. a requirement that insurance companies actually sell (private, commercial) insurance to those who want to buy it and not deny coverage or charge more for pre-existing conditions. (they can still charge more for age though)
    4. financial aid for people below a certain income level to help them buy (private, commercial) insurance.
    5. raising the income threshold for medicaid as a way to get some of the poor covered more cheaply than they can be with private insurance. (this is the only significant expansion of the government side)
    There's a bunch of other little stuff - studies and demonstration projects and experiments to try to cut costs, but that's all the big stuff - no socialized medicine, no government takeover, no "death panels" etc. You've obviously been lied to by a bunch of people wanting to scare you.
    I am by the way, NOT a fan of this law. I think there are much better, cheaper more efficient ways to get the job done. But for all it's faults, being a "government takeover" etc, is not one of them.

    Oh, and on the later comments on wages: Where are you anyway? Those numbers sound like 20 years ago. But then I live in a state with strong unions. The neighboring hospital to us just negotiated a contract with 20% increases over 4 years, even in this time. But we do hear stories of cuts like that happening in areas with little or no union presence.
    I am very reluctant to give out my personal information. People like you are very scary to me because you are putting forth propaganda that isn't true and so I have to ask myself why? I have said that I work in South Florida and that I work in the only job that was avaiable to me - home health. When I got one rejection after the next for employment, it weighed heavy on my opinion of my abilities. But after working for several months and taking the ACLS with other medical professionals, I know that I am more than qualified to work in any hospital in this country. I would be happy to send you a private email off this board and you are welcome to verify my word on this matter.

    I work with preemies and I am paid LPN wages because Medicaid says that this is all that's necessary. It is bunk, but that's what they said.

    I honestly do not know where you live but just about everything you said is unrealistic to what I've met and experienced in the real world. So, in case that is the issue, let me just tell you my story. My agency told me that I had to work for them fulltime before I was ellible for health insurance through them. I waited a while and then went into their office to inquire about that. They gave me the information without mentioning any potential issues. What I discovered was that they had a policy that said that a nurse had 30 days once they start full-time employment to apply. Nobody ever told me that. Nobody ever gave me a heads up to say, "Hey, did you realize. .. ." No, I discovered this by looking into it. Thus, your #2 point is not true. They barred the door from my getting any insurance from them.

    I was not just a little upset. So I looked up insurance on the Internet and saw einsurance. I called. Because I have some preexisting conditions, the guy on the phone told me that not one of the companies they use would allow me coverage. I am completely healed, but that is irrelevant, apparently. Thus, your #3 point is also false. In addition, for a $250/mo. policy, this would be $10,000 deductible. Medicaid has no deductible. So who is paying for this?

    The reason this thing wasn't implemented immediately is because there's no money. Without premiums and deductibles, the money has to either be cut on the giving end or taken from the receiving end. It is easier to make incremental changes than to hit the system all at once.

    Whatever politicians have suggested, no Conservative supported socialized medicine and that has been true since Hillary suggested it and before. It does not lead to great health care. Plenty of people use government insurance today. If you need treatment, there is a lot of waiting and red tape to get it. You are not allowed some physicians. Some meds and tests are not allowed. The real key to lowering costs is to stop all this litigation junk. Then normal people could afford to get treated. That money has to come from somewhere too.
    GM2RN likes this.
  12. 4
    Luv2care, I'm sorry for your troubles.

    However, I feel very strongly that health professionals need to have a basic understanding of the health care delivery system in this country and the role of federal and state governments and of private businesses (including health insurance providers) in it.

    1. Medicaid is a federal program which provides health insurance coverage to low-income individuals, which is actually administered by each individual state. The income requirements for eligibility, as well as services covered and how much is paid for these services, vary widely from state to state. "Medicaid" does not set your pay rate -- your employer does. But your employer is a private business with the goal to make some profit -- so their business model does depend on how much they earn (are reimbursed) for the services they provide. In home care this is typically a mix of private insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid, with likely different reimbursement rates from each.

    2. Private employers in the US, in all industries, typically only offer health insurance to full-time employees. If they offer it to part-time employees it is generally at a significantly greater out-of-pocket cost. A waiting period before insurance coverage kicks in is also common. At my most recent job it was 3 months.

    3. Exclusions from health insurance for pre-existing conditions are one of the egregious practices that federal health care reform is attempting to address, little by little. As of this first phase implementation approximately one month ago, health insurers are now prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. This prohibition will eventually, sometime between now and 2014, be phased in for adults as well.

    4. Private insurers also limit care by covering only "formulary" meds, limiting payment for many diagnostic and interventional procedures, and denying coverage for some more costly treatments without making the patient and/or provider jump through significant hoops to get payment approved. They are also quick to adjust (downward) their reimbursements for covered services in lockstep with reductions in Medicare reimbursement. Their argument is a sound business principle: if Physician X is willing to accept a 3% reduction in reimbursement for an office visit from a patient with Medicare, then why should they not also reduce the rates they are paying Physician X by 3%?

    This is a very complex topic ... but I hope that the few points above are enough for you to do your own investigation to have a better understanding of the current US health care model, so that you can then better formulate your own views of it.
    Last edit by Altra on Oct 26, '10


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