Allina, striking nurses at odds over quality of replacements

Minneapolis-based Allina Health and nurses are at odds over whether patients are getting the care they need with 4,800 nurses on strike and 1,400 replacement nurses filling in, according to a Pioneer Press report.

The nurses, represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association, began a weeklong strike Sunday at five Minnesota facilities — Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis, Unity Hospital in Fridley, United Hospital in St. Paul, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis.

Allina Health brought in 1,400 replacement nurses to get through the week. However, union officials said there have been reports from the four hospitals regarding chaotic operations and sometimes-unavailable facilities. Union officials pledged to help keep regulatory bodies fully apprised of any irregularities, according to the report.

"It is unfortunate, but we will be asking our regulatory agencies here in Minnesota ... to be looking into these situations in order to protect Minnesota patients," Mat Keller, an attorney who is a regulatory and policy specialist for the union, said during a news conference, the Pioneer Press reports.

Those regulatory agencies might include the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the Minnesota Department of Health and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Representatives from Allina said the hospital network was experiencing little stress, with emergency rooms receiving patients, according to the report. Some elective procedures were cancelled at Unity Hospital, however, due to the strike.

Furthermore, Penny Wheeler, MD, president and CEO of Allina, said the hospitals have seen "a fairly typical level of activity" during the strike, with 900 patients at Unity and Abbott as well as at United Hospital and Mercy Hospital between about noon Sunday and noon Monday, the Pioneer Press reports. These included 643 ER patients.

The nurses are striking primarily because Allina wants to eliminate union-backed health insurance and move the workers to plans that other health system employees receive.


More articles on human capital and risk:

Nevada Regional Hospital workers demonstrate over staffing
Indiana Regional Medical Center reaches stalemate in union contract talks
Sacred Heart physicians reach tentative labor agreement, cancel picket

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