Ballad Health CEO defends uneven nurse pay

Ballad Health's CEO said he believes nurses at the system's tertiary hospital deserve the higher pay they receive, the Elizabethton Starr reported April 18. 

Alan Levine, chair and CEO of the 21-hospital system based in Johnson City, Tenn., made the statement at an April 17 meeting with the Carter County (Tenn.) Commission. 

Commissioner Nancy Brown told Mr. Levine she believes nurses at Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton, Tenn., should make the same as nurses at Johnson City Medical Center, a tertiary hospital for the sickest patients. 

"I don't agree," Mr. Levine said. 

The hospital is experiencing a "massive nurse shortage," Mr. Levine continued, and the Johnson City facility must be fully staffed for its patients to receive care. 

Ballad Health raised pay at four of its facilities in August, including Johnson City Medical Center, according to NBC affiliate WCYB. Entry-level nurses and support staff saw their starting salary rise from $22 to $27 per hour. 

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