Minnesota nurses introduce Healing Greed Agenda

Submitted by ADonahue on
 Chris Rubesch, RN standing at podium that has sign "Healing Greed".

Legislative road map puts patient needs before corporate greed

Staff report

National Nurse magazine - Jan | Feb | March 2024 Issue

Last year, the outsized power of corporate health care executives killed bipartisan legislation that would have improved nurse staffing and retention in Minnesota hospitals. This gross display of corporate bullying made clear the need to put meaningful new regulations on these health care companies, to protect patients and workers from these same corporate abuses in our hospitals. 

This year, nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) are fighting for the Healing Greed Agenda, a legislative roadmap to put patient needs before corporate greed in our health care system. The agenda would hold hospital executives accountable to patients and the public and protect workers from retaliation when they speak up for the safe, quality care all patients deserve. 

“As corporate health care executives continue to exert greater and greater influence in our communities, it’s never been more important for those who provide the care Minnesotans depend on to speak truth to power,” said Chris Rubesch, RN at Essentia-Duluth and MNA president. “Hospital executives think they run the show. They have the money to pay more than 60 lobbyists to ensure the system stays exactly like it is. But we are here today to speak with one voice and demand change. Minnesota can do better, and we must do better!”

Health care in Minnesota used to be about taking care of one another. But big corporations captured our hospitals, and now CEOs with million-dollar salaries run them like for-profit companies with a focus on their own compensation and the bottom line. Today, nurses are overworked, hospitals are understaffed, and patients are overcharged. While executives shame Minnesotans for seeking care in our hospitals, they are taking million-dollar bonuses on top of their millions in base pay, even as they claim they can do nothing to retain staff and ensure patients the care they need and deserve.

The Healing Greed Agenda will put hospital executives in check to make our hospitals work for patient needs, not corporate greed. The plan will provide incentives and protections for nurses who stay at the bedside, regulate and shine a light on executive compensation, and require that tax-exempt hospitals give back to the communities they make their billions off of, instead of just giving millions in bonuses to the CEOs and executives at the top.

MNA nurses are thankful for the strong support of Minnesota legislators who have lined up to carry the Healing Greed Agenda, and who are ready to fight for patients and workers at the Capitol this year. Nurses are proud to stand in coalition with workers from the Minnesota AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 5, AFSCME Council 65, United Steelworkers, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) in the fight to hold hospital CEOs accountable to our patients, our communities, and our state. 

The Healing Greed Agenda would put patients’ needs ahead of corporate greed to: 

Protect safe patient care — The Healing Greed Agenda would protect nurses when they speak out and take action to protect safe patient care in our hospitals and would hold hospital executives accountable when their decision to understaff nurses puts patient care at risk. 

Retain and support nurses at the bedside – To support and retain nurses at the bedside, the Healing Greed Agenda would provide new protections against violence in our hospitals for both nurses and patients, which often increases because of understaffing by hospital executives; and it would improve nurse loan forgiveness programs to help nurses struggling to stay in the profession.

Put hospitals to work for us, not CEOs – The Healing Greed Agenda would take important steps forward to hold hospital executives accountable to patients before profits. It would limit and shine a light on executive pay at nonprofit hospitals; improve public notice when executives plan to close hospitals, clinics, or units; protect patients from predatory medical debt collections; and make sure tax-exempt hospitals give back to the communities they make billions off of, not just pay out millions to executives at the very top.

If enacted, the Healing Greed Agenda will help protect Minnesota’s tradition of community care against the advances of corporate greed in our hospitals. Our plan will ensure Minnesotans can better access the care they need, and more care workers can remain in the jobs they love.