Minnesota nurses to honor Allina strike with $2.6M in patient debt relief

The Minnesota Nurses Association has agreed to help approximately 1,800 patients get rid of $2.6 million in medical debt, according to a Star Tribune report.

The union said it would make charitable payments in honor of the anniversary of a seven-day nurses strike that took place in June 2016 at five Allina Health facilities in Minnesota — Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, Unity Hospital in Fridley, United Hospital in St. Paul, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, according to the report.

"MNA Nurses decided to pay back the community that supported them during the strike against Allina Health," the union said in a statement provided to the Star Tribune.

The MNA said the union will actually pay close to $28,000 to resolve the patients' medical debt, since collection agencies often take pennies on the dollar for such debts, according to the report.

More than 4,000 nurses at Minneapolis-based Allina went on strike in June 2016. The strike took place after nurses rejected an offer from Allina that included shifting workers from union-backed health insurance to corporate plans. Allina nurses went on strike again over health benefits last September. That strike lasted six weeks until nurses approved a contract offer from Allina in October. The contract ultimately approved by nurses included the health plan switch, but included enough financial incentives and guarantees about health benefits to gain favor from nurses, according to the report.

The Star Tribune reports more details on the MNA paying patients' debt are expected at a news conference Monday that will include Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.


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