Union head suggests retaliation against CA hospital systems

An influential California labor union threatened to take retaliatory actions against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the hospitals operated in California by Prime Healthcare and Providence Health & Services for not joining a pact between its organization and the state's primary provider lobby, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Dave Regan, the president of the 150,000-member Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers, said in a 50-minute call last month with several of his managers--and leaked to the Times--that Cedars-Sinai, Prime and Providence were "outliers" by not joining in on the pact and that the union would put some pressure on them at a future time.

"We're going to continue to be public and beat them up and raise all the stuff that drives you crazy or you're going to figure out how to get those guys to heel... These guys are just not good citizens," Regan said, according to the Times.

The union agreed last month to drop two ballot measures that would have capped the compensation of not-for-profit hospital CEOs in California, as well as what hospitals could charge for care in lieu of a deal with the California Hospital Association (CHA). That deal included an agreement for the two sides to pool $100 million to help increase reimbursements for providers from the Medicaid program, which Regan had indicated may provide enough revenue to help preserve jobs among his membership. The union would also have the opportunity to add as many as 60,000 workers in California to its membership roster.

Few specific terms of the deal were disclosed at a May 6 press conference when Regan and CHA President C. Duane Dauner announced the pact.

A Prime Healthcare spokesperson told the Times that Regan should be held accountable for "his threat to bully Prime and other hospitals to 'heel' and his efforts to get CHA's assistance in that scheme."

The hospitals will contribute $80 million, according to the article, with the rest coming from the union. Both sides will have equal say on how the money is going to be spent, although few details are available as to what specifically will be done with the funds.

To learn more:
- read the Los Angeles Times article