For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Wallenfang; 517.974.4966
Community Leaders, Physicians Join Rally at Huron Valley
Nurses, Stretched Thin, Say Union Contract Needed for Safe Staffing and Quality Care
COMMERCE TOWNSHIP – Well over 100 members of the Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (HVSH) and supporters rallied outside of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township today, calling for a fair contract for nurses at the hospital.
“I am speaking out today because Huron Valley nurses are doing everything that we can to care for our patients, but increasingly, we are stretched so thin that near-misses are becoming ordinary,” said Tina Grossman, an Emergency Department nurse with more than 10 years of experience at HVSH. “There simply aren’t enough of us to keep patients safe at all times.”
Nurses at Huron Valley voted to form their union in March 2016 and are currently bargaining for first contract at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, with safe staffing a top priority. The Professional Nurses Association of HVSH is an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association.
“Huron Valley is a critical health care provider for Oakland County,” said Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward. “It’s extremely important that hospital executives get to work at the bargaining table – soon – so that nurses can effectively do the work they know and love: taking care of patients.”
Huron Valley, founded in 1986 as a non-profit community hospital, later became part of the Detroit Medical Center. In 2010, DMC was purchased for $1.5 billion by Vanguard Health Systems, which was in turn purchased by Dallas-based Tenet Health Care Corporation for $1.8 billion in 2013.
Huron Valley is now part of Tenet DMC – and years of corporate cost-cutting, nurses say, has cut back on key positions and left nurses without support they need to provide high quality patient care. In addition, nurses are bargaining for fair compensation to attract and retain highly qualified RNs.
In November of last year, nurses released “Unable to Provide Safe Patient Care,” a report which describes the impact of years of corporate cost cutting at the former non-profit community hospital.
“I’m proud to stand with our nurses and they are absolutely right to highlight the critical issue of safe staffing,” said Dr. David Green, a neurologist at HVHS. “I work with these nurses at Huron Valley every day, and I’ve seen first-hand that they are being pushed to do too much with too little support. When nurses form a union and advocate for quality care, that’s a win for all of us – and for our patients.”
“As a nurse, and even more so as part of a union, I am empowered to advocate for that person who is depending on me,” said Pam Koleno, a medical surgical and telemetry nurse who has worked at HVSH for twenty-two years. “Tenet Health Care may own our paychecks, but they will never own the heart and soul of our hospital.”
“I love our hospital. I love our patients, and I love that my coworkers are together as a union," said Amy Wulke, an HVSH ICU and intermediate care nurse. “Together we can take our hospital back and ensure that our nursing practice thrives. We have already made tremendous progress. We are so close to the finish line, and we will not be denied now.”
The Professional Nurses Association of HVSH represents 350 RNs at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table
For immediate release
News from the Michigan Nurses Association
Contact: Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535
Michigan Nurses Launch Radio Ads in Detroit and Dallas
Shame on Tenet Health Care, Caregivers Say, for Breaking Promise with 98% Cut in Charity Care Spending
DETROIT – “Shame on Tenet Health Care” is the message of radio ads released today in Detroit and Dallas by the Michigan Nurses Association. The advertisements inform the public that executives at Tenet Detroit Medical Center (Tenet DMC) cut spending on charity care by 98 percent between 2013 and 2016.
“Executives in Dallas have abandoned needy patients in Detroit,” said Sara Wallenfang, MNA’s associate executive director for professional and member relations. “Tenet pledged to remember the needy when they bought DMC in 2013. They have either forgotten their promise – or they never intended to keep it in the first place.”
“Show us the numbers,” said Charles Thomas, a Detroit resident and board member of Michigan United, a community organization based in Detroit and Kalamazoo. “It’s a shame what this company in Texas has done to the city of Detroit. If Tenet has a different story to tell, they’ve got to show us an audit, not a blank page on a website.”
As a condition of its purchase of Detroit Medical Center, Tenet DMC is required to maintain existing policies on charity care and report annually to Legacy DMC, a body of physicians and community leaders. The annual report includes an exhibit on “Indigent and Low Income Care.” It is posted as a single sheet on the website of Michigan’s Attorney General, blank except for a title and this statement: “All information in this Exhibit A is confidential information and may not be disclosed to the public.”
According to publicly-available data submitted by Tenet DMC to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), however, charity care spending at the company’s acute care hospitals in the Detroit area dropped by 98 percent from 2013 to 2016.
In 2013 – the year DMC was acquired by Dallas-based Tenet Health Care – DMC spent $22.9 million on charity care in acute care facilities. Three years later, according to reports filed by Tenet DMC with CMS, that figure had dropped by 98 percent, to just $474,000.
“We worked hard to get a commitment, in writing, that charity care would still be available in our community when the Detroit Medical Center was sold to a private, for-profit company,” said Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network (MICHUHCAN). “It’s alarming to see that Tenet DMC has reduced their spending to near zero. That certainly doesn’t match the need in our community; in the city of Detroit alone, we have nearly 50,000 people without health insurance.”
MNA first released data on the dramatic decline in Tenet DMC’s spending on charity care last month, with specific citations to data compiled by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Tenet responded with a press release containing no sources or citations. The company has also declined to make available its report on “Indigent and Low Income Care,” as filed with Legacy DMC.
“Nurses in Michigan believe every person deserves health care, regardless of income,” said Wallenfang. “We’re taking this message to the airwaves because the public has a right to know when a major health care provider like Tenet DMC is failing to help those who need it most.”
The “Shame on Tenet” radio ads and scripts available here: http://bit.ly/TenetRadio
Nurses at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, a 158-bed facility in Commerce Township that is part of Tenet DMC, voted to form a union as an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association in March of 2016. Huron Valley nurses, who are in the process of negotiating a first contract agreement with Tenet DMC, have identified safe staffing and quality patient care as top bargaining priorities.
The Professional Nurses Association of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital (PNA-HVSH) represents 350 RNs at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for registered nurses in Michigan, advocating for nurses and their patients at the State Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.