MyMichigan Medical Center Nurses Vote To Strike

The nurses are looking for a competitive contract in hopes of attracting more nurses to Alma Hospital to alleviate labor shortages and improve conditions.

10 days’ notice will be given to the hospital before the strike.

Nurses at McLaren Central Hospital in Mount Pleasant are voting Thursday to sanction the strike.

MyMichigan nurses join over 1,000 nursing home workers represented by the Michigan Health Workers International Union who in the middle of a vote.

These nurses work in 13 nursing homes across Michigan owned by Ciena Healthcare, The Orchards Michigan, Optalis Healthcare, Pioneer Health Care Management and Amee Patel, Kevin Lignell, public relations coordinator for SEIU Healthcare Michigan, told Crain’s via email earlier this week. .

Lignell wrote that workers are demanding “a living wage, affordable health care, and safe staff in their nursing homes.”

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Melissa Samuel, President and CEO of the Michigan Health Association, said the sudden loss of 1,000 nurses could spell chaos for the entire healthcare sector. Nursing homes will likely have to cut back on patient numbers and rely on costly agency staff to maintain a manageable ratio of patients to providers.

HACAM is a trade association representing long term care providers in Michigan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit nursing homes hardest, first because of the spread of the coronavirus and then because of the loss of workers. The industry lost about 210,000 national workers and about 10,000 in Michigan.

“We have the right staff to serve the buildings, but the ability to take in more patients and eliminate bottlenecks in the hospital system is simply not there,” Samuel said. “We will have to work together and identify initiatives to bring people back into the industry. There is not a single nursing home that is not trying to hire right now. This is a health crisis.”

HCAM is calling on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to allocate $67 million for long-term retention, recruitment and training as part of last year’s incremental spending bill signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last February.

According to Samuel, funding intended to be provided in the form of grants has not yet been allocated. Grant applications were submitted in August last year.

The Nursing Home Association is also asking the state for an additional $2.35 per hour wage allowance for direct care workers during the pandemic, and it continues to apply today to all nursing home workers in Michigan.

HCAM is also urging the state to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates, which have risen 5 percent since 2019 but fall short of costs that have risen more than 15 percent due to inflation and wage increases, Samuel said.

This story first appeared in Crane’s Detroit Business.

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