NNU Nurses Win Historic Victory at MedStar Health!
Management Finally Agrees to Reimburse Nurses for Increased Healthcare Costs for 2012 and 2013
After three arbitration decisions by two separate arbitrators and a federal judge’s order, hospital management has entered into a settlement agreement with nurses represented by National Nurses United to repay nurses for nearly all increases in out-of-pocket costs and premium increases for calendar years 2012 and 2013. The reimbursements will be applicable to NNU members at Washington Hospital Center who enroll in the company’s Care First healthcare plan. This settlement comes after MedStar Health “materially diminished” our health benefits by increasing out-of-pocket costs and premiums in an effort to drive nurses to use MedStar Health exclusively for health services. These changes had the effect of reducing the viable healthcare options available to nurses and their families rather than allowing nurses to use their professional judgment when seeking care for their families. This ruling is a credit to the strength of our NNU contract, which requires management to maintain certain standards for registered nurses, and the perseverance of NNU nurses who demanded that management follow our collective bargaining agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why will NNU nurses receive reimbursements for healthcare expenses?
A. Two arbitrators ruled that Washington Hospital Center management violated our collective bargaining agreement by “materially diminishing” our health benefits. The arbitrators ordered management to repay nurses for changes to the healthcare plan in calendar years 2012 and 2013.
Q. When will nurses begin receiving checks?
A. Checks will be issued in two steps. Nurses will first be reimbursed for calendar year 2012 after NNU is provided with data that details the total reimbursement due to each nurse. According to the agreement, NNU will be provided this information by the end of the week. Nurses will be reimbursed for calendar year 2013 after NNU is provided with similar information about the amounts to be reimbursed to nurses. That information is due by May 15, 2014.
Q. Do I need to do anything to receive a check?
A. Nurses will not need to do anything to receive a check but nurses should study the reimbursements carefully to make sure that you are being reimbursed for the full amount due. If a nurse believes that his or her reimbursement is incorrect, the nurse will need to fill out a HIPAA release form so that NNU can investigate the discrepancy.
Q. Does this settlement resolve our dispute over healthcare changes in calendar year 2014?
A. No, we are still in the process of disputing changes made for the current calendar year.
Q. Doesn’t SEIU Local 722 have similar contract language to dispute healthcare changes? Will our co-workers represented by Local 722 receive reimbursements?
A. Yes, Local 722 has similar contract language that allows the union to challenge changes made to the health plan. Local 722 members should contact their union leadership in order to inquire about their reimbursements.