Union Memberships Need to be Savvy with Contract Negotiating.
Posted Dec 23 2008 9:14pm
I've seen a few articles in the business sections of various periodicals making mention of the financial ripples from Wall Street that are either expected to affect or are affecting healthcare organizations. Investment revenues are likely to be less than forecasted, patient revenues will possibly drop off as patients put off elective procedures due to out of pocket expenses, and other sources of revenue such as from Medicare are likely to be less. It all adds up to a growing financial concern for hospital CEOs.
During this time of fiscal uncertainty several healthcare organizations will be entering into labor contract negotiations with nursing staff and other allied healthcare staff. This is a time for union membership to be mindful of what is going on in the business world and to be able to intelligently articulate union membership desires. It is likely that most hospital administrators will be looking to save costs and cut back on benefits or other compensations when renegotiating contracts. While no one would like to see compensation packages cut, it is not likely that negotiating committees will be able to achieve any significant gains.
With respect to union members negotiating their new contracts it would be wise for the membership at large to work collaboratively with hospital administration teams to improve resource utilization, improve patient care documentation - so that higher reimbursement rates can be achieved, and to become proactive with the organization to mitigate any departmental fluff if you will. Healthcare today is dependent on all healthcare personal to reduce operating expenditures, cut waste, and improve efficiency. If organizations are able to streamline operations through the improvement of existing product lines than all staff are likely to benefit in the long run. Now more than ever the old ways of us vs them must be put aside and a collaborative approach to improving healthcare organizations must prevail if healthcare administrators, patients, and staff are to enjoy future benefits of a well run organization.