Nurse union shares ‘no confidence’ vote in Hennepin Healthcare CEO ahead of county commissioners meeting
A group of health care workers shared their vote of “no confidence” in Hennepin Healthcare’s CEO ahead of a possible Hennepin County Board of Commissioners vote Tuesday afternoon that would raise health insurance premiums for as many as 7,000 Hennepin Healthcare workers.
It comes just days after the CEO made the announcement as part of an effort to cut costs, under a new budget plan.
Union leaders at Hennepin Healthcare and the Minnesota Nurses Association say they don’t want paramedics, nurses, EMTs and dispatchers to pay more for health insurance as part of the hospital’s plan to close a $127 million budget gap.
They say they want a budget plan that will help retain workers while addressing the staffing issue.
Under the proposed plan, union members would pay 5% more for health care premiums.
Sam Erickson, vice president of the Hennepin County Association of Paramedics and EMTs, says the proposal would cause much higher deductibles and a loss of some prescription drug coverage.
“And, to cut those medicines out is totally unacceptable and totally against our mission at Hennepin Healthcare, not only for EMS, but organization-wide,” Erickson said. “The benefits to us were very important. And to lose those, was a very big blow for us. And now our members are very united and ready to push back.”
Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer Decubellis says the hospital will balance the budget by increasing premiums, but also by projecting 6% growth in revenue and restructured contracts with insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. She adds that laying off employees is not an option.
“Our 2024 budget actually invests in more paramedics, more nurses, more individuals we’re putting closer to our clinical care services because we know those patient-facing roles are essential,” Decubellis said. “Our healthcare workers are doing incredible work right now. The real underlying problem is the financing of health care isn’t sustainable. And you’ll see that in your numbers across the nation and here at our own market, It’s not sustainable for anyone.”