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Hennepin Healthcare nurses vote "no confidence" in CEO ahead of 2024 budget decision

Union health care leaders vote "no confidence" in Hennepin Healthcare CEO
Union health care leaders vote "no confidence" in Hennepin Healthcare CEO 02:07

MINNEAPOLIS — Hennepin Healthcare employees say they aren't happy. Tuesday morning, several union members representing nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other hospital employees gathered to shared their vote of "no confidence" in Hennepin Healthcare's CEO. 

"At this point the decision is do you stay at Hennepin or do you leave?" Minnesota Nurses Association co-chair with HCMC Janell Johnson Theile said. "Leadership has made several promises to improve working conditions, including additional security measures, hiring more direct care staff but almost every promise has either never been implemented or implemented and then taken away."

They're urging Hennepin County commissioners to "create a budget that retains healthcare workers and keep workers safe in the hospital." 

"We feel like we are failing when really it is our leadership failing us," Johnson Theile said.

In an effort to cut costs, Hennepin Healthcare's 2024 budget would raise employee health insurance premiums by 5%. Union leaders say the impacts go far beyond that, including the loss of some prescription drug coverage. 

"Out-of-pocket maximums are going up, copays, all these things, so the costs associated with the plan are significantly increased," HCAPE Vice President Sam Erickson said. "So yes, it may only be 5% or 10% coming out of our pocket, but the cost of taking my daughters to the doctor or wife to get treatment has gone up significantly."  

Hennepin Healthcare leadership told WCCO it's a "very challenging environment" for health care delivery service and funding that sector is "complex."

A statement to WCCO reads, in part, that "board of directors believes management offered a balanced approach to the 2024 budget proposal, prioritizing investments to maintain quality, improve access, and reduce length of stay, as well as to enhance safety within our facilities." 

The statement adds that it will continue to offer competitive pay and pension plans. Its current retention rate is 90%.

The HCMC 2024 budget vote was set to happen Tuesday, but the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners rescheduled it to happen Dec. 12.

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