Vermont union seeks delay in hospital budget approval amid contract negotiations

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

The union representing about 1,800 nurses at University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington is urging the state's healthcare board to delay approving the hospital's fiscal year 2019 budget until a contract agreement is ratified.

The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals made the announcement Aug. 15 after the most recent bargaining sessions between the union and hospital ended without a labor deal.

Vermont's Green Mountain Care Board is tasked with "reducing the rate of healthcare cost growth in Vermont while ensuring that the state of Vermont maintains a high- quality, accessible healthcare system," according to the board's website.

Union officials said nurses allege hospital administrators aren't doing enough to attract and retain front-line providers and support staff necessary to provide adequate patient care.

According to the union, nurses seek a minimum of $15 per hour for all hospital employees, as well as "competitive wages capable of ameliorating chronic understaffing in the hospital and clinics."

Hospital officials told Becker's they "are focused on reaching an agreement that values our nurses, compensates them fairly, and allows us to continue providing high-quality, affordable care to our patients and families."

"Our budget submission reflects those priorities and also outlines our work to move toward value-based care. The Green Mountain Care Board has a rigorous process for evaluating hospital budgets, and we look forward to meeting with them to discuss the work outlined in our budget next week," they said.

UVM Medical Center administrators are slated to testify in front of the Green Mountain Care Board on the fiscal year 2019 budget Aug. 22. At that time, the union plans to urge the board to delay approving the budget.


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