Cape Cod Healthcare Reaches Agreement With Nurses
The nurses and Cape Cod Healthcare seem satisfied after a 10 month battle.
After 24 hours of bargaining, Cape Cod Healthcare and the nurses at Cape Cod and Falmouth hospitals have come to a contract agreement - one that should satisfy everyone, chairwoman of the local chapter of the Massachusetts Nurses Association Shannon Sherman said.
After a 10 hour session on Wednesday, Cape Cod Healthcare announced the agreement with the MNA in a press release.
It said, "This agreement reflects a shared commitment to safe, effective patient care and fair salaries and benefits for our nursing staff."
The contract still requires approval by MNA members and is a small step in the right direction, according to Sherman.
Cape Cod Healthcare said the contract is "a prudent contract that balances the long-term financial needs of the health care system and considers the declining reimbursements [it is] likely to face going forward."
This agreement is closure to a 10 month battle between the nurses and hospitals. In May, nurses picketed the hospital to share information about their contract demands.
The three main issues nurses wanted addressed in this negotiation were:
1. Limit on mandatory overtime. Sherman said the hospitals were using mandatory overtime as a way to fill gaps in coverage holes. The nurses wanted to increase staffing to improve the nurse/patient ratio.
- "Staffing has been lacking in the hospitals for quite some time," Sherman said. "We wanted the hospital to address some of the areas that didn't have best patient ratios."
- The hospital agreed to increase flow pools for nurses by a couple nurses, but weren't willing to improve actual ratios, Sherman said.
- Mandatory overtime was limited to 12 shifts a year or three per quarter.
2. Nurses wanted a pay increase based on an increase in Cape Cod Healthcare profits.
- "We were fighting for a very modest pay increase," Sherman said. "The hospital made $37 million in profits last year and the nurses have been working very hard the last few years in a very strenuous environment."
- While the hospital has had a tough 5 years financially, the last two have improved.
3. Cape Cod Healthcare agreed to work with nurses on issues - a staffing committee was put into place and they plan to meet.
- Staffing committees have been put in place before, but Sherman believes the hospital has a strong dedication to working with the nurses this time.
"It's a small step in the right, beginning step, in right direction," Sherman said. "The hospital has to continue to meet with the nurses to address the concerns about staffing issues that may arise. They have committed to creating a staffing committee and have committed to meeting with nurses and I hope they continue to do so."
Michael Lauf, CCHC’s President and CEO said, “We believe this process has resulted in improved communication and a shared commitment to providing the best patient care possible. We thank the MNA negotiating team for collaborating with us to reach this agreement, and for the wonderful care they have always provided to our patients.”