University of California Nurses Contract Expected to Increase Salaries at Hospitals Statewide
Health care experts predict that a new three-year contract between the University of California health system and the California Nurses Association will "exacerbate the bidding war for nurses" in the state, the Orange County Register reports (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 6/25). Under the contract, approved last Friday, nurses' salaries will increase an average of 19% to 25% over the next three years, and the health system will replace a merit-based salary system with seniority-based system. In addition, the contract will allow mandatory overtime only in a few cases, such as emergencies (California Healthline, 6/24). Hospital and nurses' union officials agree that the contract will "up the ante" for nurse recruitment "in a market where vacancies are approaching 20%." David Langness, a spokesperson for Santa Barbara-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., the nation's second-largest hospital chain, said that the contract will "definitely raise the bar for nurses' salaries statewide." He added, "I'd say it's definitely an employees' market at this point." Health care experts also predict increased competition for nurses between the state's hospitals. Hospitals in the state have begun to offer "big signing bonuses" and referral fees to attract nurses, and many facilities have sponsored an "extensive amount of advertising" to improve nurse recruitment, the Register reports. "In fact, our image advertisements are more focused on (attracting) nurses right now than they are on patients," Debra Legan, vice president of marketing for Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, said (Orange County Register, 6/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.