Barton, we nurses are waiting for an answer (Opinion)
Do you remember the day we were told that Barton (Memorial Hospital) hired an outside firm to compile information regarding medical benefits of surrounding hospitals?
Remember when they nonchalantly stated they were too generous compared to other hospitals when it came to dependent care?
Yeah, me too. And I remember being so furious and thinking, for what other reason do I work than to provide for my family?
Then the knockout came. They were not only tripling premiums, thereby forcing families into higher deductibles, but they were taking the longevity discount away. Meaning those who had dedicated their services to Barton for more than 10 years would now see an even larger increase.
I had only myself been at Barton for less than a year, but I was mostly upset with that last part.
I could not believe that Barton would take one of the last benefits it offered to its long-term employees and be so heartless about it.
Shortly after that we started writing our history as united unionized nurses.
We are not only fighting for our healthcare but for the all the other amazing colleagues we proudly call our friends.
If the nurses can’t afford the same care they provide, there’s something broken.
Barton thinks they provide a fair health benefits package.
According to them the most popular health package costs a family $60/pay period.
Yes, this may be true, but let’s get the dirty details out there about this plan.
This plan does not include dental benefits for the family.
That’s an extra $20. OK fair enough right, sounds pretty easy? It’s the highest deductible plan they offer.
God forbid, if a catastrophic event happens that requires my entire family to be hospitalized outside of Barton, we would be responsible for not only the $5,000 deductible and 20-50% of each bill resulting thereafter.
That could mean financial devastation.
But it doesn’t just have to be a catastrophic event that causes strain on the family finances.
Barton is a small place as we know and many services have to be rendered outside of Barton.
Here’s a list of services not provided at Barton that have to be sought elsewhere. You’ll be paying that pricey little deductible and then 20-50% of the rest of the bills: Transplants, oncology, chiropractic, hearing and dialysis.
And lastly, don’t forget cardiac catheterization or stroke care. These are minimum services at other hospitals.
Should we be paying more than our peers in the Bay Area for less care? I think not.
Barton has had opportunities to do the right thing and has chosen to do wrong by those who have helped make Barton one of the richest corporations in town.
Why is a loaded corporation like Barton not caring for its employees like it should?
That’s not something I think I am qualified to answer.
However, just like you, I’m still waiting to see that very telling healthcare survey.
Barton, it’s been 14 months since we have you our healthcare proposal. We have waited patiently long enough. Why haven’t you answered us? The time to act is now.
Starlette Robinson is a Med-Surg Registered Nurse at Barton Memorial Hospital. She gave this speech during the nurses strike ond-day strike Friday, Sept. 20, and submitted it as a guest column to the Tribune.
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