Focused on a Fair and Balanced Outcome
On Wednesday, May 25, Swedish presented an overview of its approach to the current contract negotiations. The presentation focused on the dramatic shift in the healthcare landscape and its impacts on Swedish and all who rely on us – our patients, employees and community. June Altaras, Nurse Executive at Swedish’s First Hill campus and Joanne Suffis, Vice President for Human Resources, presented to the Union.
Our continued commitment to all who rely on Swedish - our patients, employees and community - in the “new normal” of healthcare
Changes in the way hospitals are paid, healthcare reform and the economy have hurt Swedish’s financial stability. As part of this trend, Swedish has seen a dramatic increase in patients with government insurance (Medicaid and Medicare), which pays Swedish 50 percent less than patients with private insurance. Swedish has also seen an increase in patients with no insurance. The results of these trends mean we have less money to run Swedish. Unfortunately, these changes are not going away – these changes are not temporary – this is the “new normal” in healthcare.
The impact of this “new normal” on Swedish’s financial stability is dramatic. If Swedish does nothing and continues to follow this current path through 2014, we will spend more money than we bring in with a projected loss of more than $247 million.
Doing nothing is not an option if we want to ensure a thriving future for Swedish. We must work together with SEIU to identify significant opportunities for expense reductions to reverse this trend. Over the next three years, Swedish needs to reduce expenses by more than $200 million.
Over the past few years Swedish has taken dramatic steps to find and implement opportunities for expense reductions.
We’ve already reduced expenses by more than $30 million by:
- Eliminating 170 non-contractual employees
- Freezing pensions for non-union employees and moved to a generous 401K retirement plan
- Reducing supply spending
And we’ve identified projected expense reductions of $60 million through the following efforts:
- Clinical documentation improvement
- Clinical economics such as standardization of clinical tools and supplies
- Bringing billing in house
Swedish is proud to be a leader in employee wages and benefits. We want to continue this leadership with wages and benefits, but we need to narrow the gap between what we offer and what other hospitals offer to remain financially stable. Although the five percent difference between what we offer our employees and what other hospitals offer their employees may not sound like a lot, it is; five percent equals $75 million.
Negotiations will continue throughout the month of June. As part of contract negotiations, we will be asking SEIU 1199NW to contribute their fair share in finding savings to ensure a thriving future for Swedish. We look forward to presenting several options of possible solutions to SEIU 1199NW at a future bargaining session. Swedish will not be looking for base wage cuts, but seeks a fair and balanced outcome for all who rely on Swedish – our patients, employees and community.
We welcome your feedback. Look for updates in future issues of Negotiation News or here at www.swedish.org/negotiationnews, where you can learn the latest about the negotiations and ask questions or make comments about the process.