On Thursday, June 2, Swedish and SEIU resumed bargaining. Swedish answered questions raised by the Union in its May 25 presentation. In general, there were questions about what SEIU 1199NW is calling the “Three I’s,” Issaquah, Investments and Investors, and how these impacts can be factored into Swedish’s presentation. Swedish responded to SEIU’s questions about the “Three I’s,” which we have clarified below:
SEIU: Issaquah will have better patient mix than First Hill, and could positively impact Swedish’s margin, so it should be included in the financial data.
Swedish: Although we hope that the patient mix and volumes will be better at Issaquah as compared to our other facilities, the payor mix is still unknown. We also anticipate that Issaquah volumes may initially negatively impact volumes at our other hospitals. It takes time for new facilities to generate revenue. Both Redmond and Mill Creek are still several months away from the breakeven point but this was expected and planned for.
SEIU: Swedish’s investments should be considered as part of the margin discussion, to provide a truer picture of Swedish’s financial situation.
Swedish: Swedish and SEIU have a philosophical difference on this issue. Swedish does not believe that we should be tapping into our investments, which is the same as our savings account, to cover monthly operating expenses. Our savings are critical to our financial standing, which is one of the most important things rating agencies look at when assessing our financial health. We are dedicated to being fiscally responsible stewards for the organization, and as such, we are committed to maintaining our savings.INVESTORS
SEIU: Since Swedish was given a bond rating based on its financial health, the presentation should speak to the organization’s recognized /validated financial health.
Swedish: Our financial health is just one of the factors considered by the rating agencies; other important considerations are confidence in management, our short term and long term strategies as well as our plans for growth and financial stabilization.
Swedish made proposals aimed at achieving greater efficiency and flexibility, helping ensure the financial stability of the organization in the years to come. Individual proposals for the RN, Tech and Service units were reviewed in detail, as well as separate proposals to address Low Census, Floating and Grievance Procedure.
In addition to proposed adjustments designed to increase efficiency and flexibility as Swedish grows and continues to operate in the “New Normal,” there was clarification on current language used in the existing contracts to address potential ambiguity.
On Tuesday, June, 7 both parties will spend time responding to one another’s proposals and beginning to work toward resolution. In addition, there may be an additional proposal presented about new facilities in the coming days. Swedish continues to seek a fair and balanced outcome for all who rely on Swedish – our patients, our employees and community – and remains committed to offering a leading wage and benefits package for our employees.
We welcome your feedback. Look for updates in future issues of Negotiation News or online here at www.swedish.org/negotiationnews, where you can learn the latest about the negotiations and ask questions or make comments about the process.