Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management, ICD-10, Claims Reimbursement, Medicare, Medicaid

Policy & Regulation News

California Nurses Fight for Increased Quality of Care, Reimbursement

By Stephanie Reardon

CNA seeks to increase pay for registered nurses and nurse practitioners by 14 percent over the next three years.

- A two-day nursing strike scheduled for January 21 and 22, 2015 has been cancelled after nurses in Northern and Central California reached a tentative agreement with provider Kaiser Permanente, according to a report from Associated Press. The California Nurses Association (CNA)/ National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s biggest nursing union, reported on its website  that the agreement includes requirements for Kaiser to increase pay for registered nurses and nurse practitioners by 14 percent over the next three years.

The registered nurses of CNA have not yet approved the agreement, but the postponement of the strike is dependent on the establishment of a committee composed of registered nurses and nurse practitioners that aim to improve care standards within Kaiser healthcare facilities.

Some of the major parts of the tentative contract with Kaiser are:

  • Hiring hundreds of registered nurses to improve quality of care for patients in the hospital
  • Putting new workplace protections in place for nurses that address problems like workplace violence, needle injuries and infectious disease protection
  • Increase nurse pay by 14 percent over the next three years
  • Long-term retirement security through the creation of a secure pension plan
  • Yearly paid time for 25 registered nurses to participate in NNU’s disaster relief program

“This is a great day for Kaiser patients and nurses,” said Zenei Cortez, Registered nurse, chair of the Kaiser RN bargaining team and a co-president of CNA in the CNA press release. “We have an agreement that will strengthen the ability of Kaiser RNs to provide the optimal level of care our patients deserve, while establishing additional security for nurses. I am so proud of the Kaiser RNs and NPs who worked so hard for so long for this day.”

The battle may be nearly won for the nurses in California, but it seems to be just starting for registered nurses within the Newton Wellesley Hospital in Wellesley Massachusetts. A press release from Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA)/NNU, added support for the registered nurses of Newton Wellesley Hospital. They are campaigning to bring public awareness to the owner of the hospital’s (Partners Health Care) plan to reduce registered nurse staff numbers while increasing each nurse’s workload of patients in order to turn a profit.

The release indicates that official financial reports indicated that the hospital showed profits in excess of $27 million over the last two years.

“We are a busy hospital and when inpatient beds are full, the emergency department must continue to care for those patients as well as caring for all other sick or injured patients from our community. The nurses at Newton-Wellesleywant to provide excellent, timely safe care to our patients and that is why we are so concerned about these cuts.” Laurie Andersen, a longtime ED nurse at the facility and chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit, explained.

In the long run, improving the contracts for registered nurses and nurse practitioners will only benefit a hospital’s revenue, according to a previous report on EHRIntelligence.com.  The report stated that hospitals that have longer-tenured nurses on staff, tend to have better cost savings and improved patient outcomes through a 1.3 percent decrease in patient length of stay. The study used for this report was compiled by Colombia University and took place over a span of four years in Veteran affairs hospitals.

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