American Rights at Work Education Fund, in its Annual Labor Day List of notable employers, designated Maimonides Medical Center among its 2008 Top Ten, in recognition of the hospital’s partnership with 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR).
Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center, 4802 10th Avenue, is proof positive of the value joint labor management activities bring to workers, the healthcare industry, and — most importantly — patients, through higher quality care.
Back in 1997, Maimonides and its employees faced the growing challenge of controlling increased costs and meeting ever-tightening regulations, all while trying to provide access to quality, affordable health care. In an effort to meet these demands, they organized with other medical providers in the area under the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York, creating a team approach to solve many of these problems.
The agreement was landmark in many ways, particularly in its advancement of workers’ rights. Though many Maimonides employees have enjoyed union representation for decades, under this agreement, the company pledged to voluntarily recognize a union if a majority of its workers chose one. Most recently, 68 ambulance drivers joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) using majority sign-up, a fair and direct method of forming a union.
The new collaboration has been rewarding at Maimonides. “Workers’ voices are listened to, allowing them to make decisions on how they want work to be done. It’s created a new culture in the organization,” says Rhadames Rivera of SEIU 1199. One way this is manifested is by employees and management jointly hiring managers and supervisors.
According to Maimonides President & CEO Pamela Brier, “The Strategic Alliance reflects a joint commitment to improve our ability to provide the highest quality patient care and remain an employer of choice in Brooklyn and throughout the metropolitan area.”
Through solutions adopted by departmental labor management committees, formal arbitrations have decreased, and formal grievances have also fallen substantially. In addition:
· The hospital’s radiology department has produced a drop in patient turnaround time, and waiting periods for radiology services in the emergency room have fallen by 40 percent.
· Due to a significant increase in nursing staff, when Maimonides patients ring alarms for medical assistance, the response has been reduced to less than one minute.
· Clinical documentation has also improved, with medical record error rates plummeting from 26 to two percent.
The American Rights at Work Education Fund is an educational and outreach organization dedicated to promoting the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain collectively. Learn more about its mission at www.americanrightsatwork.org.
For more about Maimonides Medical Center’s innovative programs, visit the website at www.maimonidesmed.org