(Host) The nurses’ union at Fletcher Allen Health Care is questioning the timing of adverse financial reports by hospital officials. During a press conference on Friday, union officials also said a new financial improvement plan at the hospital would have a negative effect on patient care.
In that financial plan this week, the administration outlined a series of measures to improve the condition of the hospital, and that included 50 layoffs, four of them in nursing. The announcement of the hospital’s plan came a day before the nurses’ union presented its first contract proposal. Steve Chamberlin, a spokesman for the union, raised the matter of timing:
(Chamberlin) “It is highly coincidental that at a time when we’re presenting our package, and actually in a period leading up to the date when they know we’ll be presenting our package, they start this build up and start releasing this financial information and claiming losses and such.”
(Host) But hospital spokeswoman Maria McClellan said Fletcher Allen Health Care informed its employees more than month ago that the hospital was undertaking a cost-cutting effort. She said hospital administrators expected the nurses’ contract proposal sooner, and said the timing of the layoffs was unrelated.