What's with TENET?

  1. The complete article can be viewed at:

    May 3, 2003 E-mail story Print

    Tenet to Allow Two Unions to Organize
    The hospital chain apparently seeks labor peace by permitting elections at 30 facilities in California, Florida.
    Tenet to Allow Two Unions to Organize






    By Ronald D. White, Times Staff Writer

    Tenet Healthcare Corp., facing numerous legal battles and government probes, sought to eliminate a major headache Friday by forging an unusual pact with two labor unions that have been trying for years to organize workers at Tenet hospitals.

    The agreement would allow the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to conduct organizing campaigns and hold union elections at 28 Tenet hospitals in California and two in Florida-with the blessing of hospital management.

    If nurses and other workers at the hospitals vote to be represented by either union, they would be guaranteed pay raises of 8% in the first year and 7% in each of the next three years.

    Those percentage increases are about what many nurses have been getting in recent years-with or without unions behind them-but Tenet workers may see an advantage in voting for a union because that could give them a greater voice in the workplace.

    The California Nurses Assn., an independent labor group that has been competing with the SEIU to organize hospital workers, blasted the agreement as an "illegal, fraudulent" attempt to bribe Tenet employees. The group said it would file charges with the federal labor board in hopes of thwarting the deal.

    For Santa Barbara-based Tenet, the nation's second- largest hospital chain, the agreement with the unions provides some clear benefits. The SEIU, in particular, has been using its political connections in Sacramento to make life difficult for the hospital company, which has been beset by scrutiny from regulators, lawmakers and others for effectively gouging Medicare and charging excessive hospital rates, among other questionable practices.

    The pact with the unions presumably would mark an end to SEIU's so-called corporate campaign against Tenet and enable it to focus on restoring its business and reputation-and on resolving federal investigations into heart surgeries at a Tenet hospital in Redding and doctor recruiting practices at its medical center in San Diego.

    "Normally, [Tenet] would want to contest unionization, but they need good labor relations right now," said Nancy Weaver, an analyst at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock, Ark. "This agreement is going to cost Tenet more money than it would like, but peace with the unions is an intangible that you can't put a value on."

    Tenet shares rose 88 cents to close Friday at $15.59 on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Tenet operates 40 hospitals in California. The California Nurses Assn. represents nurses at four of them. Combined, SEIU and AFSCME, both affiliated with the AFL-CIO, have contracts at eight of Tenet's hospitals. Unionized nurses tend to earn more than nonunion counterparts. Tenet declined to provide wage figures. The hourly pay for nurses in the private sector in the Los Angeles area was $30.02, according to a 2002 survey by the Labor Department.

    For SEIU and AFSCME, the main appeal of the agreement with Tenet appears to have been the opportunity to represent all of the company's nonunion hospitals in the state. Tenet, with about 35,000 employees in California, is the last of major hospital chains in the state that is largely nonunion.

    Sheryl Skolnick, an analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners in New York, said Tenet's agreement with the unions "bordered on brilliance" on the part of management.

    "It sets up the probability of predictable labor costs and arbitration instead of strikes," she said. She also said in a report to investors Friday that the deal could help Tenet neutralize the aggressive attacks by the nurses group by opening up the hospitals to rival unions.

    The SEIU said the California Nurses Assn. was offered the same deal by Tenet but refused. An association spokesman denied that, saying it was shut out of the agreement.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 5, '03
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    About pickledpepperRN

    Joined: Mar '99; Posts: 13,361; Likes: 1,375


  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Another thread about Tenet. Seems there are new developments but previous thread still important:
  4. by   sjoe
    Watch the CBS Evening News May 6th for more on Tenet.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN

    Nurses' Group Seeks to Overturn Tenet Pact
    Ronald D. White

    May 6, 2003

    The California Nurses Assn. said it filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board to overturn a labor agreement by Santa Barbara-based hospital chain Tenet Healthcare Corp.

    CNA alleges that Tenet unlawfully forged a pact with two other unions, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

    The nurses' group said this allows the rival unions to improperly hold uncontested representation elections at Tenet hospitals and grants them preferential treatment in meeting with hospital employees. Tenet declined to comment.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on May 7, '03
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    SEIU came to my house!
    How did they get my address? I quit working there almost 2 years ago!
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    The Associated Press State & Local Wire

    May 5, 2003, Monday, BC cycle

    9:21 PM Eastern Time

    SECTION: State and Regional

    LENGTH: 418 words

    HEADLINE: California Nurses union files labor complaint against Tenet


    The California Nurses Association said Monday it has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to overturn an agreement reached between Tenet Healthcare Corp. and two labor unions.

    Santa Barbara-based Tenet announced an agreement Friday with the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that would allow nurses and other hospital workers wage and benefit increases of up to 29 percent over four years if they join the unions.

    The deal would apply to employees at all of Tenet's 40 California hospitals, according to company and union officials.

    The executive director of the California Nurses Association said Monday that the deal constituted an illegal "arranged marriage" between Tenet and the unions, and its effect would be to deny nurses the ability to make choices about compensation for their work.

    "Basically Tenet Healthcare, which is already under investigation by a number of federal agencies, has decided to do what we find a kind of shocking back-room deal with the Service Employees Union, to essentially coerce and bribe registered nurses and other health care employees to join the Service Employees Union in order to get a raise," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses group.

    Federal investigations are under way into Tenet operations including the company's billing practices. Tenet acknowledged last fall having a pricing strategy, since changed, that triggered outsized payments collected from Medicare.

    Tenet spokesman Steven Campanini said the company would have no comment on the allegations by the California Nurses Association.

    Luisa Blue, president of SEIU's Nurse Alliance, which says it represents 35,000 nurses in California, dismissed the CNA's allegations as "disingenuous."

    "What the CNA is calling a 'back-room deal' is, in fact, an extension of the raises and other provisions negotiated by other SEIU-represented employees in other Tenet hospitals," Blue said in a statement.

    "It's outlandish to think that the CNA would call this bribery or that they would allege that anyone is being forced to join a union," Blue said.

    The CNA says it represents 50,000 registered nurses, including 1,500 at five Tenet hospitals. DeMoro said the deal between Tenet and the two other unions was an attempt to thwart the CNA's organizing efforts at Tenet hospitals.

    Phone calls to the National Labor Relations Board rang unanswered after hours Monday.
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by sjoe
    Watch the CBS Evening News May 6th for more on Tenet.
    Wish I had seen it. I was working last night. (NOT at a Tenet hospital)

    Contra Costa Times (California)

    May 6, 2003 Tuesday


    NURSES CLAIM: The California Nurses Association said Monday it has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to overturn an agreement reached between Tenet Healthcare Corp. and two labor unions. Santa Barbara-based Tenet announced an agreement Friday with the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that would allow nurses and other hospital workers wage and benefit increases of up to 29 percent over four years if they join the unions. Tenet had no comment.

    City News Service

    May 5, 2003 Monday

    Tenet Healthcare


    An unfair labor practices complaint filed by the California Nurses Association alleges that Tenet Healthcare Corp. unfairly gave two other unions the chance to represent the hospital company's workers.

    Tenet's agreement with the Service Employees International Union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees could lead to unionization of nurses and other employees at all of the company's California hospitals.

    SEIU officials said the CNA wanted to represent Tenet nurses exclusively and was therefore not included in the agreement, but the CNA contends nurses were not allowed to choose who they wanted to represent them.

    "The RNs want a real choice, free of coercion or bribes, and we will do everything to assure they get it," said CNA President Kay McVay.

    The CNA filed its unfair labor practice complaint late Friday with the National Labor Relations Board.

    The CNA alleges that Tenet violated federal labor law by handpicking the SEIU and AFSCME and conditioning pay increases for workers on their joining the SEIU. Tenet also allowed the SEIU access to employees while blocking CNA organizers from talking to RNs, according to the CNA.

    Tenet's Steven Campanini declined to comment on the CNA complaint, referring questions to the SEIU.

    Lisa Blue, president of the SEIU's Nurse Alliance of Southern California, said in a written statement that "what the CNA is calling a 'back-room deal' is, in fact, an extension of the raises and other provisions negotiated by other SEIU-represented employees in other Tenet hospitals."

    "It's outlandish to think that the CNA would call this bribery or that they would allege that anyone is being forced to join a union," she said.

    Under the agreement, Tenet hospital employees in San Diego County and the company's RNs in Orange County will be able to join AFSCME's United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals.

    All other RNs and hospital employees in the state will be able to form a union with the SEIU and its affiliated Nurse Alliance.

    RNs at Encino, Tarzana, Queen of Angels-Hollywood Presbyterian, Garfield, Irvine Regional and Lakewood Regional medical centers, and Garden Grove and Fountain Valley hospitals are already represented by either SEIU or AFSCME.

    The agreement would allow nurses at 15 other Los Angeles County hospitals to join the SEIU through a special election process.

    But any future elections could be set aside in light of its NLRB complaint, according to the CNA.

    CNA officials said RNs at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Daniel Freeman-Marina Hospital in Marina del Rey, Los Alamitos Medical Center, Mission Hospital and Community Hospital of Huntington Park and Suburban Medical Center in Paramount filed petitions last Thursday, asking for secret ballot votes on whether to join the CNA.

    American Health Line

    May 5, 2003 Monday


    Officials from Tenet Healthcare, the nation's
    second-largest hospital chain, on Friday announced an agreement
    with two unions that will provide nurses and other employees of
    Tenet hospitals in California and Florida with a 29% wage
    increase over the next four years, Knight-Ridder/Orange County
    Register reports (Wolfson, Knight-Ridder/Orange County Register,
    5/3). Under the three-year agreement, nurses represented by the
    Service Employees International Union and the American
    Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees
    will receive wage increases of 8% in the first year and 7% in
    each of the next two or three years (Rundle, Wall Street
    Journal, 5/5). The nurses represented by the two unions cannot
    strike over the three-year period of the agreement
    (Bloomberg/New York Times, 5/3). The agreement also will allow
    nonunion employees at Tenet hospitals to vote to join the two
    unions "without company resistance"; those who join one of the
    unions will receive the wage increase included in the agreement,
    Knight-Ridder/Register reports. The agreement covers Tenet
    employees represented by SEIU and AFSCME at 40 hospitals in
    California and two hospitals in Florida but not those at 72
    other company hospitals nationwide (Knight-Ridder/Orange County
    Register, 5/3). According to the Wall Street Journal, the
    agreement should eliminate some of the "most contentious issues"
    from future contract negotiations and allow Tenet to focus on
    quality at a time when the federal government has launched
    several investigations into the company, the Journal reports
    (Wall Street Journal, 5/5). "Normally (Tenet) would want to
    contest unionization, but they need good labor relations right
    now. This is agreement is going to cost Tenet more money than
    it would like, but peace with the unions is an intangible that
    you can't put a value on," Nancy Weaver, an analyst for
    Stephens, said (Associated Press, 5/3).


    The agreement may "soothe relations" between Tenet and the
    two unions but has "ignited a war" between the unions and the
    California Nurses Association, a third nurses union that
    competes for members with SEIU and AFSCME, the Journal reports
    (Wall Street Journal, 5/5). Tenet offered the same agreement to
    CNA, but union officials rejected the agreement. According to
    the Contra Costa Times, the agreement will provide SEIU and
    AFSCME with a "strong advantage" in the competition for members
    in California (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 5/3). CNA
    spokesperson Charles Idelson said that SEIU officials have begun
    to inform nonunion Tenet employees that they would lose a 29%
    wage increase over the next three years if they voted to join
    CNA. "It's a clear violation of labor law to be effectively
    bribing employees with the promise of increased pay solely on
    whether or not they will be joining SEIU or AFSCME," Idelson
    said. He added that CNA plans to file a complaint with the
    National Labor Relations Board (Wall Street Journal, 5/5).
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    HMO Criticized for High Profit From
    Low-Income Patients
    Some say Molina's hefty margins may come at expense of quality care. Supporters cite
    diverse coverage for its success.

    By Debora Vrana, Times Staff Writer

    As an emergency room physician in Long Beach, C.
    David Molina saw immigrant families come in for
    everything from high fevers to ear infections because
    they didn't have regular doctors. To help them, he
    opened three small clinics in the city.

    From those humble beginnings in 1980, Molina
    Healthcare Inc. mushroomed into one of the nation's
    largest-and most profitable-health maintenance
    organizations serving low-income people on Medicaid.
    With nearly half a million members in California and
    three other states, Molina's earnings rose to $30.5
    million last year, up from $2.6 million in 1998. Now it's
    preparing to go public in a $115-million stock offering.

    In regulatory filings, the HMO attributes its financial
    success to providing medical care efficiently and to its
    long experience serving culturally diverse communities.
    Molina Healthcare employs a full-time cultural
    anthropologist, and its Web site can be viewed in
    Spanish, Russian, Hmong and Vietnamese.

    "They seem to have the formula in place," said David Menlow, president of IPO
    Financial .com, a New Jersey data service that tracks initial public offerings.

    But according to some health professionals, consumer advocates and
    independent reviews, Molina profits partly because its members don't see
    doctors when they should and may not complain when they are denied care.

    Reports from the state and a health-care analyst show, for example, that
    Molina's pediatric patients in California and Michigan tend to have immunization
    rates well below the statewide average. What's more, Molina and other HMOs
    that serve Medicaid patients in California can and do readily shift care of acutely
    ill children to state programs such as California Children Services, thereby
    reducing their exposure to some of the most expensive cases.

    Molina isn't the only HMO making handsome returns from government contracts
    with Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in California. But it is among the most profitable
    in the managed-care industry-Medicaid or otherwise-and consumer groups
    say hefty margins are incongruous at a time regional HMOs have generally
    struggled, budget-strapped states such as California are slashing funds for health
    programs, and doctors and other providers are clamoring that they are losing too
    much money serving Medicaid patients.

    The size of Molina's profits is "shocking," said Jerry Flanagan, a director with the
    Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a Santa Monica-based nonprofit
    group. "HMOs that are serving the lowest-income population on the state's dime
    are making huge profits. It's a great time to be an HMO investor but a bad time
    to be a patient."

    HMO Has Supporters

    Molina executives declined to comment about any matters relating to the
    business, citing the Securities and Exchange Commission's so-called quiet period
    for companies preparing to go public.

    "I just can't; I wish I could," said Dr. J. Mario Molina, 44, chief executive. He
    and his brother, John C. Molina, 38, the company's treasurer, have been running
    the Long Beach-based business since their father died in 1996.

    The HMO has its supporters, among them Julie Olson, a director in the Utah
    Department of Health. "Molina has done a good job for us," she said.

    Olson was especially impressed, she said, when Molina moved into Utah's rural
    Cache County, where some doctors were opposed to managed care.

    "I really didn't think managed care would fly in that county," she said, but Molina
    was able to work with doctors and others to successfully sign up new members
    there. The HMO has more than 40,000 members in Utah.

    "They are very good at looking at what is the most cost- effective solution for the
    patient to get care," she said. "They will try some innovative things. They excel at

    Molina's mainstay is cater- ing to inner cities, focusing on Latinos, African
    Americans, Southeast Asians and Russians. Nearly all its $644 million in revenue
    last year came from Medicaid, which is supported by state and federal funds and
    covers about 47 million people nationwide, more than half of them children. As
    an HMO, Molina gets set monthly payments from the government based on its
    Medicaid enrollment, not on the number of patients seen or services provided.

    Wall Street likes such companies because the share of Medicaid members
    enrolled with HMOs is expected to grow.

    "These companies provide a coordinated system of care, and they are willing to
    take the risk away from the states," said Thomas Carroll, an analyst at Legg
    Mason in Baltimore. When Molina makes its stock offering, through underwriter
    Banc of America Securities, it will join a few major Medicaid HMOs that have
    gone public in recent years, including Virginia Beach, Va.-based Amerigroup
    Corp. and Centene Corp. of St. Louis. "We're in the early stage of what I see
    as a big growth period for these companies," Carroll said.

    In California, some of the top commercial health insurers are going after the same
    members. WellPoint Health Networks Inc., the Thousand Oaks parent of
    Blue Cross of California, said its Medi-Cal membership grew to 1.2 million at
    the end of 2002, from 830,000 the previous year. Company representatives say
    this line is slightly less profitable than its overall business.

    Keeping Costs Down

    Like many HMOs, those specializing in Medicaid say their advantage is that they
    keep costs down by streamlining operations and managing care efficiently.
    Molina has said its employees work hard to get people to come in for checkups
    with phone call reminders and by helping provide transportation.

    Julie Alvarado, a 38-year-old mother of four in the Long Beach area, said
    Molina often sends cards to remind her to bring her children in for exams or

    "The doctor here is wonderful," said Alvarado, standing in front of Molina's clinic
    in Wilmington, one of 21 the HMO runs in California. "I've had other plans, but
    Molina has been the best."

    Her comments don't square with California's annual performance report on
    Medi-Cal managed-care plans. The report is based on a quality-measuring
    system known as HEDIS.

    The report showed that in some key categories, Molina ranks near the bottom of
    the 22 Medi-Cal managed-care plans that had contracts with California in 2002.
    During the year, 48.6% of the children who were enrolled with Molina had
    received all the required immunizations by age 2. That compared with a
    statewide average of 59.2% for Medi-Cal managed-care plans, and 79.3% for
    the best performer in this category, Community Health Group, a San Diego

    The study also found that 34.4% of Molina Medi-Cal members who had babies
    got effective postpartum care. That was just below what the state considered its
    minimum level, and less than half the highest score achieved by Santa Barbara
    Health Initiative, at 76.7%.

    In response to its substandard results, the state noted, Molina started a
    "Motherhood Matters" program, giving all pregnant members an infant car seat
    and improving its data- collection process. The report also said that Molina had
    "shown substantial improvement" in this area from 2001, when its postpartum
    care score was 15.3%.

    Molina's performance was stronger in some other categories-it ranked fourth
    for well-child visits for members 3 to 6 years of age, with a score of 67.7% --
    but the HMO didn't rank in the top three in any of the HEDIS measures for
    Medi-Cal enrollees.

    Lea Brooks, a spokeswoman for California's Department of Health Services,
    said Molina has contracted with the state for more than 20 years. Company
    reports show that Molina had 253,000 members in California at the end of
    2002. Even so, Brooks said, no one at the department could comment on
    Molina's HEDIS scores.

    "Molina is meeting its contractual obligations and is particularly strong in serving
    minority populations," she said.

    Allan Baumgarten, an independent managed-care analyst who researches
    HMOs, said his just-completed study of Medicaid HMOs in Michigan for the
    year 2000 doesn't show Molina in the best of light when it comes to childhood
    immunization rates and preventive tests such as mammograms for middle-aged
    women. Molina, which also operates in Washington state, has about 33,000
    members in Michigan.

    Looking at Scores

    "Based on these scores, it doesn't look like they are a strong health-care plan in
    making sure their members are getting basic services," Baumgarten said. "The
    states, by contracting with HMOs, are delegating significant responsibilities, such
    as encouraging providers to call people and tell them to come in for their
    six-month checkup."

    Chris Perrone, director of the independent Medi-Cal Policy Institute in Oakland,
    said it was difficult to speak to critics' claims about how much Medi-Cal
    members are using services at Molina and other for-profit managed-care plans.
    He said, however, that he believed many of these health plans were cutting
    expenses by encouraging members to see doctors rather than making costly ER
    visits and by doing a better job managing the length of members' hospital stays.

    Most of the doctors interviewed for this story declined to comment on the
    record, citing concerns about the effect on their contracts and patients. Some
    said on the record that their experience with Molina had been mixed.

    Ellis Beesley, a pediatrician whose Wilshire Boulevard offices are across the
    street from Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, says that at least once or
    twice a month he is called to visit a new baby at that hospital. But when he bills
    Molina, Beesley says, it won't pay if the mother wasn't pre-approved to deliver
    at Good Samaritan.

    "Sometimes a patient goes into labor and she's not going to get on a bus to go to
    the hospital she's approved for, so she delivers at the wrong hospital," said
    Beesley, who is a contract doctor with Molina. "We're giving services in good
    faith, and they deny it. I can't bill the patient, I can't bill the state. So I get

    Beesley said Molina makes money by underpaying doctors-a criticism
    frequently made about the HMO industry. If Molina gets $40 a month from the
    state for each member, the pediatrician said, he might get $10 to $12 a month
    from Molina for each patient that has picked him for a doctor. That fee doesn't
    increase, even during the flu season, when a child may come see him several
    times a month.

    "So where does that extra $30 go? They are making money because they don't
    pay the physician properly," he said.

    At the same time, Beesley said, Molina has never denied service when he has
    requested treatments for his patients:

    "They've always authorized everything I've asked for," he said.

    If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.
    Click here for article licensing and reprint options
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    No Bonuses for Tenet Execs After Regulatory

    NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) - Top
    executives did not receive bonuses at Tenet
    Healthcare Corp., the hospital operator whose stock plummeted after
    regulatory difficulties, for June 1-December 31 last year, according to a
    regulatory filing.

    While Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Barbakow's salary was
    increased by four percent to $1.27 million annually effective September
    1, he will not be eligible for a bonus that will be based on his
    performance until 2004, the company said in the proxy statement to the
    Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Barbakow also did not receive any options for June 1-December 31
    after receiving options for 1.5 million shares in the fiscal year ended May
    2002. In that year, Barbakow was paid $1.20 million in salary and
    received a $4.18 million bonus.

    According to regulatory findings compiled by Equilar Inc, Barbakow was
    the 12th best-paid executive last year, with total direct compensation of
    $34.7 million.

    From October through December, Tenet endured a wave of negative
    publicity related to allegations it charged Medicare too much to treat
    patients. It also lowered its earnings forecast and saw the resignation
    of two executives.

    The stock has fallen nearly 70 percent since late October.

    The company filed a proxy statement because it is changing its fiscal
    year to correspond with the calendar year. It will hold its annual
    shareholders meeting on July 23.

    Tenet has also named Robert Nakasone, former CEO of Toys R Us
    Inc., and Ed Kangas, former chairman and chief executive of Deloitte
    Touche Tohmatsu, to the board and will name two additional members
    as it seeks an independent chairman.

    Shareholders will also be able to vote on requiring all directors to stand
    for election annually. They will also vote on defining what constitutes an
    independent director.

    Copyright 2003 Reuters. Click for Restrictions.
    BearingPoint, Inc., formerly KPMG Consulting, Inc., is an independent consulting firm and is
    not affiliated with KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.
    2003 KPMG LLP, the U.S. member firm of KPMG International, a Swiss association. All
    rights reserved.
    KPMG Online Privacy Statement and Disclaimer
  11. by   Pinky18
    Edited - spam - TOS violation.
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Published: May 13, 2003, 07:06:54 AM PDT
    The California Nurses Association filed charges Monday with the National Labor Relations Board to force Tenet Healthcare to grant immediate pay raises to registered nurses and other employees.
    The CNA complaint contends that a labor alliance announced by Tenet earlier this month, which promises employees raises of up to 29 percent for joining certain unions, is illegal.
    Tenet Healthcare formed the alliance with the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees.
    The nurses association is asking the labor board to seek an injunction in federal court forcing Tenet to pay the raises to employees whether they join the unions or not.
    Tenet Healthcare operates 42 hospitals, 40 of them in California. Doctors Medical Center of Modesto and Doctors Hospital in Manteca are Tenet hospitals.
    Steven Campanini, a spokesman for Tenet Healthcare, declined comment on the complaint.
    "We have no comment on the CNA or this labor issue," Campanini said.
    The CNA and the Service Employees International Union have waged intense organizing campaigns at Tenet hospitals throughout California.
    Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at 578-2349 or tmoran@modbee.com.
    All Rights Reserved

    Contra Costa Times (California)

    May 13, 2003 Tuesday

    CNA bargains for San Ramon nurses

    By Taunya English; CONTRA COSTA TIMES


    When San Ramon Regional Medical Center and its nurses finally meet to negotiate salary and benefits, the California Nurses Association will represent their interests at the bargaining table.

    The National Labor Relations Board certified the union's status as the nurses' bargaining representative Friday, nearly seven months after approval by a 119-93 vote.

    A three-member, labor-board panel in Washington, D.C., rejected the hospital's claim that the election was invalidated because a pro-union nurse campaigned at the polling place and acted as an agent of the union.

    The four-page ruling said the hospital failed to prove that Patricia Boiler caused a disruption that "impaired employees' exercise of free choice" or that she was a union representative.

    The hospital sought a subpoena for documents to confirm that Boiler was an "agent of the union" but the panel called that petition a "fishing expedition."

    The petitioner protesting to the vote must produce evidence to bolster its objections, the panel said. But, "the employer has asserted no facts and introduced no evidence that directly or inferentially supports its assertion of Boiler's agency status," the panel wrote.

    CNA spokesman Charles Idelson said Tenet Healthcare Corp. -- the hospital chain which owns San Ramon Regional -- regularly uses legal machinations to stall negotiations. But now, Idelson said, "We are going to hope that they respect the law."

    The association will represent nearly 250 registered nurses at the hospital. Tenet spokesman David Langness said company and local hospital officials will meet with the union. "We are glad to get this behind us and we look forward to bargaining," he said.

    Theoretically, Tenet could refuse to sit down with the union, and eventually appeal the association's legitimacy to the circuit court. But one industry watcher said the hospital chain has been inundated with stockholder pressures and accusations of aggressive billing practices, so it may be less prone to spend energy on that battle than in the past.

    Relations are icy between Tenet and CNA, which has long been a vocal critic of the for-profit chain's patient-care and labor practices. The union represents nurses at Doctors Medical Center San Pablo/ Pinole, who have been on strike for six months and recently rejected Tenet's latest offer.

    Tenet has been touting a new partnership with the Service Employees International Union, which represents nurses at other California hospitals. The deal prevents strikes at those union-represented facilities and gives a hefty pay raise to the nurses.

    "It think that shows that we can come to agreement with unions that are reasonable," Langness said.

    Gary Sloan, San Ramon's new chief executive officer, was formerly the chief at Doctor's Medical Center, and was part of the team that held the line on the nurses' request for pension and retirement benefits beyond Tenet's 401(k) program.

    Idelson said Sloan should use the upcoming negotiations to polish the hospital's "tarnished" reputation with its nurses and the public, after reports of health code breaches at the facility and nurses dissatisfaction.

    "It's an opportunity for Gary Sloan to step up to the plate," Idelson said.

    Reach Taunya English at 925-743-2216 or tenglish@cctimes.com
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    Tri-Valley Herald

    Regional's nurses union recognized
    Hospital agrees
    By Inga Miller
    Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - SAN RAMON -- Ending a seven-month standoff with organized labor, San Ramon Regional Medical Center will negotiate a union contract with nurses, company officials said Monday.
    They received notice from the National Labor Relations Board earlier in the day certifying a union vote by nurses. The certification overturns objections to that election by the hospital.
    "We're ready to sit down with CNA and negotiate," said David Langness, director of communications for Tenet Healthcare Corp., which owns the hospital.
    All 250 registered nurses will be part of the California Nurses Association, said union spokes- man Charles Idelson. In October, about 56 percent of the 241 nurses then voted to join the association.
    But in an appeal following the vote, Tenet accused the association of interfering in the election: being too close to the polling area and bullying nurses or promising them gifts. For its part, the union said Tenet interfered by offering better benefits shortly before the union vote and firing an employee.
    Both sides disputed the accusations.
    "It was a very close vote on the union. It involved a couple of hundred nurses -- and there was very small difference between the yeas and the nays. Still, the nurses at the hospital are not overwhelmingly in favor of a union. But because the majority are, we will sit down and negotiate," Langness said.
    No date has been set for those negotiations.
    But Idelson called Langness' announcement to negotiate "in the best interest of the San Ramon community."
    "If that is their decision, to negotiate with the nurses, we certainly welcome it," he said. "We haven't heard anything officially, but we consider that to be a very positive response."
    He said hospitals organized by his union have good patient outcomes and lower turnover among nurses.
    For months, the nurses association has attacked practices at San Ramon Regional.
    Publicizing a January health inspection at the hospital, the association pointed to findings by the California Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that hospital employees were not properly screening pediatrics patients, storing medications or adequately staffing surgical operating rooms.
    Tenet said patient health was never jeopardized. And the hospital filed an action plan with the state to address situations described in the report.
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    I worked at a Tenet hospital in an ajoining county.
    It was unsafe and filthy. There was only one staff RN doing her best and wonderful nursing assistant, and me for 34 patients.

    My nose told me patients had not been bathed for days. The RN said, "When someone calls in sick they can't get registry."
    Well they won't get me back there either. I only have one license.

    Tenet Healthcare Reports First-Quarter Loss

    NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) - Tenet
    Healthcare Corp., the No. 2 U.S. hospital
    operator, reported on Wednesday a first-quarter loss after it changed its
    policy for billing the government for the sickest patients and took
    charges for restructuring and other items.

    Tenet reported a loss of $20 million, or 4 cents per share, compared
    with a profit of $278 million, or 55 cents per share, a year ago.

    After a government investigation into the hospital chain's
    reimbursement practices, the Santa Barbara, California company
    adopted a new policy for billing for "outlier payments," which are special
    Medicare payments made to health care providers for patients that incur
    unusually high costs.

    The company said in March it would sell or consolidate 14 hospitals in
    a bid to cut costs and increase profit margins.

    "Reported results for the quarter were impacted by a number of factors,
    including our voluntary reduction in Medicare outlier payments and
    pending hospital sales that must be accounted for as discontinued
    operations," said Jeffrey Barbakow, chairman and chief executive officer
    of Tenet.

    Barbakow in April agreed to drop the chairman title as it seeks an
    independent chairman.

    Excluding charges and discontinued operations, the company earned
    34 cents per share. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting
    Tenet to earn 32 cents per share, according to tracking firm Thomson
    First Call.

    Revenue rose to $3.45 billion from $3.38 billion a year ago.

    Copyright 2003 Reuters. Click for Restrictions.
    BearingPoint, Inc., formerly KPMG Consulting, Inc., is an independent consulting firm and is
    not affiliated with KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.
    2003 KPMG LLP, the U.S. member firm of KPMG International, a Swiss association. All
    rights reserved.