Napa County Nurses Call for Answers at St. Joseph Health/Adventist Health Public Meeting on Proposed Merger
At a series of upcoming public meetings held by the California State Attorney General’s office, registered nurses with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) will demand to know how the proposed merger between St. Joseph Health System and Adventist Health System/West will impact patient health and safety, the available level of health care services, and charity care services.
“The merger would result in a near stranglehold on the health care market in Napa County and that is never good for our patients, nurses, or the community,” said MaryLou Bahn, an obstetrics nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital, Napa. “With 87 percent of the market, prices and costs will go up and services will go down.”
This is the last of six public meetings that took place throughout Northern California, with the Napa County hearing concerning Queen of the Valley Medical Center and Adventist Health St. Helena, taking place in Calistoga.
What: Napa County Public Meeting on the Proposed Merger
When: Wednesday, July 3, 10 am
Where: Calistoga Community Center - 1307 Washington St., Calistoga, CA 94515
The proposed agreement would merge four St. Joseph Health System facilities in Northern California and five Adventist Health System/West facilities into a new jointly held charitable California limited liability company called ST Network, LLC.
At the hearing, CNA/NNU nurses will ask the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to secure various terms, including:
Commitment to maintain all services and to keep hospitals open to serve the community for a minimum of 15 years. Nurses who work for Queen of the Valley Medical Center say that they are especially concerned about potential hospital closures or reductions in services and how those closures or reductions will affect the community.
Meet agreed-upon levels of charity care, health care provided for free or reduced prices to low-income patients, after the merger. RNs point out that despite increased scrutiny in recent years, culminating in a 2018 decision by Becerra to reject three California hospitals’ appeals to be exempted from charity care obligations, recent data has shown a sweeping drop this decade in what California nonprofits overall are providing in charity care.
Respect for collective bargaining agreements and RN rights after the merger, which include patient safety language and patient care protections, as well as RN wages, pensions, and benefits.
Ensure continued access to emergency care and women’s health services.
Comply with all seismic requirements of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).
Invest in programs that alleviate homelessness and mental health within Napa County.
The California Nurses Association has 100,000 members and is affiliated with National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with more than 150,000 members nationwide. CNA/NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease, and workplace violence prevention.