SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A broad range of California hospitals and hospital systems and the state's largest union of hospital workers, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), have signed a breakthrough agreement to form a strategic relationship that will change the face of healthcare in California and serve as a new national model for how employers and unions interact.
The relationship is unique because it is centered on a shared strategic vision of improving health and healthcare delivery in California, rather than a traditional labor agreement designed solely to codify conventional labor relations practices.
The centerpiece of the new accord is the establishment of a $100 million joint advocacy committee to drive improvements to the healthcare delivery system that could not be obtained through direct negotiation between employers and labor unions. A key goal for the relationship is to stabilize California's healthcare safety net, including an increase in California's Medi-Cal payments, which currently are 49th in the nation. This will be accomplished by identifying new resources and financing approaches at the federal and state levels, including educational activities, legislative and regulatory efforts, a ballot initiative, or other strategies.
Increasing Medi-Cal payments to hospitals will improve access to care for California's low-income residents and reduce health care costs for everyone who has private health insurance.
"We are in a unique period in the history of healthcare in the United States, and that called for a unique agreement between SEIU-UHW and the hospital industry. We have created a new relationship to ensure that our healthcare system itself remains healthy and that it can continue providing patients the highest level of care," said Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW.
"CHA has been involved for several years in national efforts to address the complexities in hospital pricing and to reform the payment structure of the Medicaid program," CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner stated. "We are pleased that SEIU-UHW will join us in finding workable solutions."
The agreement provides for a code of conduct that will govern conversations between union representatives and hospital employees.
The two sides will seek legislation, regulations or voluntary compliance to address the issues raised in SEIU-UHW's two ballot initiatives, which will not be pursued. This will include modernizing the hospital pricing system and exploring greater transparency of executive compensation.
SOURCE California Hospital Association