Issue 18 - SEIU Acknowledges that Swedish Must Adapt to Changing and Challenging Circumstances

Issue 18 - SEIU Acknowledges that Swedish Must Adapt to Changing and Challenging Circumstances

 SEIU Acknowledges that Swedish Must “Adapt to Changing and Challenging Circumstances”

Today, SEIU NW1199’s chief spokesperson recognized the financial strain Swedish is under as the hospital works to find solid footing in the industry’s ‘new normal’ environment. In bargaining, SEIU acknowledged that Swedish must “adapt to changing and challenging circumstances.”

This acknowledgement came shortly after Dr. Hochman distributed an all-employee email, which addressed Swedish’s serious and immediate financial challenges. The letter also outlined the urgent steps needed by all departments and managers to continue immediate course correction strategies. Swedish’s bargaining team provided SEIU leadership a copy of the memo during bargaining. The full letter can be read here.

SEIU also identified four “ways to adapt” that could help Swedish address its current financial challenges:

  1. Growth: Edmonds and Issaquah
  2. Well-performing investments
  3. Limiting labor costs: Reducing the cost of health care
  4. Process improvement and efficiencies: Partnering to include front-line staff

Both Sides Continue Discussion on Outstanding Issues

Swedish and SEIU continued negotiations on a number of outstanding issues, including hours of work, probationary employees and guidelines for stand-by employee work. Additional language in all three contracts (RN, Service and Tech) were discussed. Some issues still being considered include: TB testing, RN clinical groupings, job classes and facilities / acquisitions.

Additionally, SEIU filed a grievance around the implementation of a new vendor used to replace Sharps containers. This topic will be handled through the grievance procedure, and separate from negotiations.

Questions or Comments?

Thank you for the emails and comments we have received. We appreciate hearing from you. Please feel free to submit questions or feedback to or here at

Kelly B
I want to reply to the comment below from "Disservice":

When making a personal budget, if your income/expenses don't match up you have TOW choices - decrease spending or improve income. "Disservice"'s comment shows how Swedish (and many big companies) like to take the fast fix of reducing spending (i.e. cut workers/salaries/benefits) instead of making the more prudent approach to improve revenue.
Perhaps we "can't" raise prices, but we CAN be sure we get paid for all the services we perform - this organization is not well structerd to do this right now. Ask your coworkers - they can each name at lest one area where we are not getting properly reimbursed due to our own errors.
I previously suggest on the Ideas and Innovations site that all staff be required, as part of out annual education, to learn the basics of coding. One 30 minute class for each employee could improve of reimbursment rates substantially, and reduce work for billing employees who have to try to fix the errors clinical staff make. But not one responded to my idea (like most of the I&I suggestions).
9/2/2011 7:39:28 PM
one of many salaries FROZEN
What about the three years that the non contraxtual people who work hard for swedish did not get pay raises, salaries were frozen, raises and steps were frozen, We did extra work that was not in our job description with out complaining. What about all the staff meetings - HR Joanne and Jeff V. who said the union's turn is next to be frozen, and we will make sure we take care of you who worked through all the turmoil and added extra work loads with no pay raise? In all the staff meetings we had after the big last layoff - what happened?.
8/30/2011 3:18:08 PM
Shocked and disgusted RN
Swedish has made a statement about who they value and where they want to put their money :
Nursing Managers - all get an iPhone
CDIP - all get an iPhone

and what's happening this week ...

all care coordination and social workers are turning in their pagers for blackberry's!

I wonder how the community and the public would react knowing that Swedish is not investing in those at the bedside.
8/30/2011 10:41:50 AM
I want to have Swedish Executives take a long hard look at the billing office for the funds that are not coming in. There are many issues in the billing department that are being ignored and brushed under the carpet. I don’t understand how an organization as large as Swedish can't see where a huge part of the problem is coming from.

There are many millions of dollars in unbilled revenue sitting in the billing department. Without policies, procedures and work instructions that department is a huge factor in a lack of money not coming into Swedish.

What is being done to make billing a priority and getting payments in from the many payors Swedish is contracted with?
8/30/2011 9:36:30 AM
Typical Swedish ... wait until there's a huge crisis and then start to freeze FTE's and want to freeze wages, and increase benefits. Guess we shouldn't be surprised ... that's how the whole organization is run. Just look at how we do when we know JACHO is coming - - work orders ACTUALLY get done, equipment ACTUALLY gets picked up, hallways are ACTUALLY kept cleared etc. But the rest of the time trying to get anything accomplished is like pulling teeth.
So why should we be surprised that Swedish is taking a knee jerk reaction - - that is how everything else is done around here.
8/30/2011 8:46:40 AM
Are you guys getting the point that we are fed up and feeling frusterated? Also now freezing FTE's so that people can't increase to full time or decrease if needed is deffinetly not helping. Its really sad (and quite frankly pathetic) how horrid the morale is here. I have already started looking for new work. I know I am not alone.
8/25/2011 11:25:13 AM
Frustrated RN
Swedish continually says "SEIU and employees" need to work to help Swedish find cost cutting measures.
1. Why do the cuts have to come from those working at the bedside? What about the 14 people at Swedish whose salary is over 1 million a year? What about those that receive bonuses? What about all the managers who were provided iPhone's by Swedish or getting parking perks?
2. Swedish has sent a clear message that you do not trust those of us at the bedside - so why ask us where the cuts should be. We have offered ideas of ways to save money through Swedish on-line, which have not been implemented. You ask us for ideas in shared leadership and in staff meetings – yet any suggestion that is made is not considered. You make managers order from the most expensive catalog for their unit supplies - and when they find it cheaper at Home Depot - you won't let them do that because you don't want to use the energy to collect a receipt and reimburse them.

So it appears Swedish wants to take the easy way out by freezing wages, making us pay exorbitant prices for healthcare and by taking away our retirement - just so you can save money the easy way.

And you wonder why employee morale is so low. I do not feel appreciated. I do not feel like my employer values the hard work I perform at the bedside with my patients. I do not feel that my employer cares if I stay at Swedish or if I was to leave.
8/24/2011 4:21:18 PM
frustrated employee
It is not new that the US economy had been in a recession for a few years now to the real world. It isn't new that there were health reforms coming either, yet senior management at this hospital continued spend huge amount of money building outrageous facilities and acquiring new ones and spending millions on equipment! So if the rest of us have been watching what we spend why wasn't Swedish management?
Why are these senior managers still being paid huge salaries and bonuses in 2011? Then cry we don't have any money! Really?!! Do not say it comes form a different fund or account/budget- I have to manage my money and I can move it from and to different accounts- we are not idiots! Put our salaries in your budget account then.
Would Dr Hochman like to address that? Are they going to return the bonus money - I'm sure that would cover all if not most of the $18 million dollars that we need so far this year? What is their fair share?
Staff cannot afford to pay the insurance money proposed by Swedish. Families will have to choose between insuring their families or paying the rent /mortgage! I work hard for Swedish. I should be able to pay a reasonable amount for my childs medical insurance. And this is effectively a pay cut!! No salary increase. no step increase and pay more for benefits. Basic math!
8/24/2011 1:55:27 PM
one of many
Given that Swedish reconizes the US's state of economy but yet wants us to go for 3 years without a wage increase, and no step increases.

Management may be able to keep up with the cost of living increases on their riduculous high wages, but there is all the rest of us who can't.

How about having the ceo's and upper management take a pay cut, and not get bonuses, why not start with the fat on the top instead of cutting back on needed staff and not filling positions that are vacant for more than 30 days, or possibly not filling them at all.

Always goes back to having the hard working employees suffer for it.
8/24/2011 10:22:18 AM
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