Testimony by MNA/NNU Jordan Hospital Co-Chair Kris Kenyon at the DPH Hearing on the BI Merger
Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United Testimony
for the Department of Public Health Hearing Regarding the Merger
of Jordan Hospital with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Submitted by Kris Kenyon, RN, MNA/NNU Member, Carver Resident
and Co Chair MNA/NNU Local Bargaining Unit at Jordan Hospital
Good afternoon. My name is Kris Kenyon and I am a resident of Carver and a frontline registered nurse who has worked at Jordan Hospital for more than seven years. I am here to speak as the elected chairperson for the local bargaining unit of the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United at Jordan Hospital, which represents more than 300 registered nurses who are the backbone of this hospital and a driving force behind its future success.
We care deeply about this hospital and we are committed to ensuring that it continues its mission of providing the highest quality care to all who need it, regardless of their race, creed, color or economic status.
While we are prepared to offer our support to the sale of this hospital to Beth Isreal Deaconess, there are specific concerns we have about this merger and what it means for our patients, our community .and those of us who will carry out the mission of this institution going forward. First and foremost, we believe it is essential that the Beth Israel Deaconess agreement include a guarantee that Jordan Hospital will remain a full service acute care hospital providing comprehensive services to all who need it in our community, not just for three years, but for at least 10 years, as was stipulated in the recent agreement approved by the Attorney General for the sale of Quincy Medical Center and Morton Hospital in Taunton.
We think there needs to be clear and unambiguous provisions that guarantee that all necessary services currently in place will stay in place for as long as the Department of Health deems them necessary.
We hope you will ensure that there will always be a local board of trustees with real power to govern the operations of this hospital and to ensure that our mission is followed and protected.
We also expect Beth Israel Deaconess to make an ironclad commitment to recognize the union rights of all those who are unionized along with a commitment to honor the contracts of unionized employees. As a union nurse, I can tell you that the ability of nurses to have a union voice and the legal rights provided by collective bargaining are the most important vehicle we have to protect the public and to ensure that this facility provides a safe environment not only for patients but also for those who deliver the care.
Finally, we believe that the incorporation of the Beth Israel growing network is an important development with the potential of providing much needed stability for, and improvements to, our clinical programs. For years we have been struggling to maintain our viability as an independent facility in this increasingly consolidated health care environment. One of the negative outcomes of this struggle has been an effort by our administration to manage our budget by cutting staff and resources, leading to erosion in the quality of care we have been able to deliver. It is our hope that with the well-funded support of the Beth Israel network, there will be a reinvestment in our clinical nursing program that will allow our nurses and support personnel to continue to provide the high quality care our patients and this community deserves.
We are in the midst of a major change in how health care is delivered in the commonwealth, and this merger is an outgrowth of that change. As caregivers who have been, and will continue to be, invested personally and professionally in the success of this hospital, we are committed to working with our new partner to ensure that this facility can survive and thrive in this new environment, but we do so with an unswerving commitment to maintaining Jordan’s presence as a true community hospital. Thank you.