St. John Providence Health System fires 68 nurse anesthetists over outsourcing dispute

Warren, Mich.-based St. John Providence Health System has terminated the contracts of 68 nurse anesthetists at two of its hospitals after they repeatedly rejected terms offered under a new outside contractor, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The hospitals — Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Mich., and Providence Park Hospital in Southfield, Mich., — are now staffed with anesthesiologists brought by the new contractor. The contractor is called PSJ Anesthesia, a newly founded company affiliated with Dominick Lago, MD, an anesthesiologist at both hospitals.

The health system said it will remain with its decision to outsource the nurses, despite previous warnings by the nurses they would stage a walk out tonight at midnight. The 68 nonunionized nurses repeatedly rejected the terms for new contracts under PSJ Anesthesia for reasons unrelated to pay, attorney David Shea, who is representing the nurses, told the Detroit Free Press.

The new contracts offered the nurses similar pay but different work rules and regulations around scheduling, as well as what the nurses considered insufficient disclosure on other policies and procedures, according to the report. They also had a problem with working under Dr. Lago and his new company.

"They would rather lose their jobs than work for PSJ," Mr. Shea said, according to the report. "And now the question for Providence is, 'What is more important for them, PSJ or their nurses?'"

St. John Providence would not give an interview, but issued a statement said it plans to continue its plan to transition its nurse anesthesia services at both hospitals to PSJ Anesthesia.

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