National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine June 2014

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NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print /ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, June 2014 Volume 110/4 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It pro- vides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commen tary on matters of nursing prac- tice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for combined issues in January and Febru- ary, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to National Nurse, ™ 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announce- ment, fax (510) 663-0629. National Nurse™ is carried on the NNU website at For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or manage- ment trends you've observed, or simply something new you've encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN's perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you're a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. You can reach us at EXECUTIVE EDITOR RoseAnn DeMoro EDITOR Lucia Hwang GRAPHIC DESIGN Jonathan Wieder COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Charles Idelson CONTRIBUTORS Gerard Brogan, RN, Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD, Jan Rabbers, Donna Smith, David Schildmeier, Ann Kettering Sincox PHOTOGRAPHY Jaclyn Higgs, Tad Keyes, Erin FitzGerald quick! Name the hospital sys- tem with the most number of hospitals in the United States. Did you guess Hospital Cor- poration of America (HCA)? It's a good guess, and while HCA probably has more beds and makes more money, it actually doesn't own the most hospitals. Want to try again? Here's a hint: This corporation is also based in Tennessee. (Hey, what's with all the hospital chains based in Tennessee? Maybe it's something in the water?) Give up? The answer is Community Health Systems, or CHS as we call it. Are you surprised? Haven't heard much about them? Well, you're not to blame. As of this January, when it bought another Florida- based chain called Health Management Associates, CHS officially became the chain with the most facilities, about 206 hospitals spread across 29 states. The vast majority of them are located in rural areas, and many are in regions without other hospital options. CHS owns as many as 750 subsidiaries, including a hospital management company that operates another 150-plus facilities. Despite its resources, CHS has a horrible track record for its business practices: severe understaffing; missing equipment and supplies; multiple investigations and lawsuits by the federal government and shareholders for Medicare and Medicaid fraud; outrageously high charges; and big-time union-busting. National Nurses United affiliates currently represent RNs at five CHS facilities, four of which are in bitter first contract fights. You might not have heard much about or even noticed CHS because, unlike most hospital chains, it never puts its corporate name on the building. The CHS nurses think this is because the corporation likes to hide behind the facades of the "friendly, neighborhood" hospitals it takes over. Check out this issue's feature article about Community Health Systems to learn more about this major player in healthcare. The CHS nurses are determined to hold their employer accountable for providing the safe care their patients need and the fair contract the nurses deserve, and we all should get better acquainted with this mammoth company that undoubtedly has such a big influence on our profession. There's lots of other news in this issue from practically every NNU state. The Massachusetts RNs are moving full steam ahead with their exciting campaign to win ratios and hospital accountability in their state. The Minnesota nurses were on a hot streak of bargaining this spring, settling something like five contracts in one week. The California nurses also won a couple of contracts, and are busy on many fronts—fighting to keep Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo open and continually challenging the Goliath we call Kaiser Permanente. Keep on keeping on, and thank you for all that you do. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents Letter from the Council of Presidents Stay connected FACEBOOK: TWITTER: @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses FLICKR: YOUTUBE: DIGITAL MAGAZINE:

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