June 28, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Minneapolis, Minn – The Minnesota Nurses Association on June 21 asked state Attorney General Lori Swanson to audit the Allina health-care chain’s finances.
The union, which represents about 4,800 nurses who began a one-week strike against Allina’s five Twin Cities-area hospitals June 19, estimates that the nonprofit company will spend about $25 million hiring replacement nurses during the walkout—more than it wants to cut from union nurses’ health benefits. “If Allina is willing to spend more than $20 million over two weeks to save $10 million per year in health care for nurses, we must truly question their responsibility with patients and the public’s money,” said Mat Keller, a regulatory and policy specialist for the union. “The strike was not our call,” responded Allina CEO Dr. Penny Wheeler. Striking nurses have also criticized Allina’s $108 million investment in the Health Catalyst medical-data company, and the MNA is collecting reports of patient-care problems to report them to state regulatory agencies. “This is probably the most unsafe, unprepared, unorganized place I've seen,” Tracy Mitchum, a replacement nurse at Mercy Hospital in the suburb of Coon Rapids, told KARE-TV June 22, saying she quit because “you can't be a walking zombie and give people good patient care.” Read more