Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) and the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) have approved a new collective bargaining agreement. The agreement, which covers 121 registered nurses who work at KVH, is retroactive to January 1, 2014 and will expire on December 31, 2016.
Nurses overwhelmingly approved the agreement on February 25. The Board of Commissioners for Kittitas Valley Healthcare ratified the agreement on February 27.
“We have reached a fair agreement for our nurses and for our organization,” said Paul Nurick, CEO. “It is our responsibility to secure the future of our organization for the benefit of the community, and I believe this agreement is an excellent step in the right direction.”
The financial outlook for healthcare organizations has changed since the beginning of the recession. Reimbursement rates have fallen over the past several years and the impact of healthcare reform remains widely unknown.
“KVH has done well in comparison with many rural hospitals, both financially and in the quality of the care we provide,” continued Nurick. “We will certainly continue to face challenges as the healthcare environment evolves, but our future seems somewhat more predictable than where we found ourselves over the last two or three years.”
With a less volatile immediate financial future, KVH committed to annual wage increases over the next three years for all employees throughout KVH’s family of services. Step increases for experience will also continue.
However, the agreement also reflects the new reality of healthcare, in which the bedside and the balance sheet are inseparable. In a reflection of this new reality, all 570 employees will be eligible to earn two different annual bonuses based on the quality of care provided and the overall financial health of the organization. “These potential bonuses recognize not only the vital role that every individual employee plays as a member of the care team,” said Nurick, “but also the increasing significance of each employee to ensure the financial health of the organization.”
Nurses at KVH Hospital, KVH Home Health, and KVH Hospice are represented by WSNA.