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University of Kansas Hospital nurses unhappy with cuts

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A group of nurses at the University of Kansas Hospital woke up early Tuesday morning to protest proposed cuts to their pay and other benefits.

University of Kansas Hospital officials said they have not cut nurses pay the past 15 years, but the passage of the Affordable Care Act means the hospital is now facing major cuts in federal funding from Medicare and Medicaid.

Facing a shortfall of tens of millions of dollars, the Hospital decided to make cuts across the board, and the nurse's union is not happy about it.

University of Kansas Hospital officials said they are cutting certain benefits including premium pay, and extra money given to those who work evenings, overnights and weekends.

To make it up, the Hospital raised the nurse's base salary by two percent. Union leadership agreed to the new contract, but the membership voted it down. Last year, the Hospital made more than one billion dollars in revenue.

While some might suggest that money be used to pay the nurses, the hospital said all that profit is reinvested to improve patient care.

In addition, the hospital saw a 25 percent increase in uninsured patients last year, costing the hospital more than $51 million in uncompensated health care costs.

“Yeah, a billion does sound like a lot, but this place has a lot of overhead. We are constantly putting our money back into the latest equipment, the best research, the best doctors, the best nurses,” said Jill Chadwick, a University of Kansas Hospital spokeswoman. “It's money we have to have and we put right back into this hospital.”

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14 comments

  • PJM

    It’s funny how people who voted for obama are now feeling the wrath of his destructive ways. I’m not saying that all of the workers at KU Med Center voted for him but i would say a majority of them did. “You reap what you sow”

    Wake up America because this is only the beginning.

      • TripCharlie

        Your remark would soldify the remark you are commenting about. If the Univeristy of Kansas’ hospital has the same statistics in the election of the rest of the country, then it would be a true statement that the majority of those who work at KU Med did vote for Obama.

  • mikspapa

    You can bet those that run the place didn’t have their pay cut. Quite the reverse I’d bet, and they will then use the savings made from these cuts to the people who actually do the WORK there, to give themselves a nice bonus at the years end…..

  • Carin Smith

    Don’t let the term “not for profit” mislead you, particularly when it comes to healthcare systems. They show no profit because the executive team shares the would be profits for their annual bonuses. Blame Obamacare all you want, but the health care crisis began with greedy executives and insurance companies. Obamacare is simply an attempt to try and fix what greed created.

  • KCMC

    Hey FOX 4! Way to take video clips from an awesome story about nurses who love their job, love where they work and love their patients just to tie it in with something so negative. The nurses of 41\42 recieved the first ever PRISM award last week and your footage is of that story. Why don’t you leave the faces of nurses who decided not to picket out of your story!!!

  • X

    They are barely reducing the nurses differential…a differential that is much higher than that of other night shift workers in the hospital. Maybe they should look at the big picture. At least the hospital isn’t laying people off.

    Ps- thank you Obama for completely destroying out countries healthcare.

  • JRM

    The real issue is Kansas’ decision to NOT expand medicaid. Hospitals get extra money from medicare/medicaid if they are a “Disproportionate Share Hospital” meaning a certain percentage of their patients are medicare/medicaid patients. This money is to offset the costs associated with treating large numbers of uninsured. Since the percentage of medicare patients will go UP in states that have expanded medicaid but remain the same in states that have not, hospitals in the states that do not expand (such as Kansas) stand to lose a good deal of money since the need for uncompensated care will remain the same or increase but the amount of funds received from the DSH fund will decrease (since hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid will now have a higher percent of medicare/medicaid patients).

    Furthermore, those same hospitals in states that did not expand will lose out on money saved from the 340B drug pricing program which requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to sell most outpatient drugs at a discounted rate. The loss of the benefits of the drug program alone stands to cost KUMed over 20 million dollars A YEAR the benefactors of this will be hospitals in states that DID expand Medicaid since more of their hospitals will now be covered under this program.

    So basically the elected officials in Kansas told hospitals in the state “tough luck” we dont’ care how much funding you are going to lose we aren’t going to expand Medicaid because we are more worried about being reelected than the well-being of the people who elected us.

  • NCLEX Preceptor

    I am sad to hear that nurses are losing jobs due to budget cuts. Nurses work very hard and want to see the best for our patients. Budgets are important to run a hospital. You just hope it does not overrule the care of the patient.

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