News of the Month — March 2023

NewsMarch 28, 2023

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Several major news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, reported on the introduction of SB 770, a bill that NUHW and our allies have spearheaded to create guaranteed healthcare for all Californians that provides better care at lower costs than our current profit-driven system.

Beth Fukumoto, a former member in the Hawaii House of Representatives, wrote in CivilBeat that she hasn’t been able to see her Kaiser therapist for six months and defended the recent strike. She also highlighted three bills (SB 164, SB320 and HB1300) currently in the legislature as efforts to try to address the ongoing mental health crisis.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has withdrawn its WARN Act layoff notice. Becker’s Hospital Review reports the hospital beat its cash projections by more than $11 million between November 2022 and February 2023. However Hazel Hawkins still expects to run out of cash later this summer and is continuing to look for a buyer or financial partner.

NUHW was quoted in a Modern Healthcare story this month about what unions have done to enforce provisions in their contracts.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that nurses at Providence’s Petaluma Valley Hospital claim the company is carrying out plans to shutter the hospital’s beleaguered maternity ward by luring the facility’s obstetrics nurses to other hospitals it owns, including Santa Rosa Memorial. The proposal to shutter the maternity unit has been rejected by the Petaluma Health Care District, which sold the facility to Providence in 2020 on the condition that the maternity ward remain open through 2025.

Workers are securing large raises at the bargaining table. About 100 labor deals ratified in 2022 include a double-digit pay increase in their first year, according to an analysis of Bloomberg Law labor data. Within private non-manufacturing, which includes healthcare, the average first-year wage increase for union contracts ratified in 2022 was 6.8 percent, up from 4.3 percent in 2021, Beckers Hospital Review reports.

NBC reports that nearly three-quarters (72.9 percent) of U.S. adults with past-due medical bills owe at least some of that debt to hospitals, according to a report from the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Of those with past due bills, 45.1 percent owe debt to both a hospital and a doctor’s or dentist’s office.