Catholic Healthcare West, CNA Agree to Contract
Catholic Healthcare West and the California Nurses Association on Tuesday agreed to a four-year contract under which the hospital group will adopt nurse-to-patient ratios of one nurse to every five patients for general medical units and provide a 26% increase in wages and benefits over the length of the contract, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
CNA officials said the CHW contract is the first in which a hospital operator has agreed to comply with CNA's request for a 1-to-5 ratio (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/13).
The administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is seeking to ease the ratio requirements, which it maintains increase hospital operating costs. The administration is appealing a Sacramento Superior Court ruling that upheld the ratio requirements, Ken August, a Department of Health Services spokesperson, said.
In addition to the ratios and wage and benefits increases, the contract establishes an arbitration process by which an independent third party will have final say in enforcing staffing levels, according to CNA spokesperson Charles Idelson (Osterman, Sacramento Bee, 7/13).
Under the contract, CHW will contribute as much as $1,000 toward health benefits annually for all registered nurses beginning at age 62, up to a lifetime maximum of $25,000. An oversight committee also will be established to evaluate the nurses' pension plan (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/13)
Pending ratification by CNA members, the contract will cover 4,700 nurses at 12 CHW hospitals (Sacramento Bee, 7/13).