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Coalition of Workers, Religious Leaders, Demand Fiscal Accountability of N.M. Hospital Executives

by Peter Feng  |  July 29, 2011

Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center rally
ACCOUNTABILITY NOW! – Kathleen Baymiller and Tim Valdez (behind her), both employees of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M., attend a rally to demand that hospital executives spend money on employees and patients – not on the executives’ salaries. Their union, District 1199 of the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees (NUHHCE), is negotiating a new contract. (Photo by Jakob Schiller)

A coalition of nurses, hospital staff, patients, religious leaders and community members is demanding that executives of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe., N.M., be held accountable for their use of taxpayer dollars.

“Christus St. Vincent receives millions of dollars a year from the county for indigent care and is not required to disclose how that money is used,” charged Fonda Osborn, president of District 1199 of the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees (NUHHCE), which represents St. Vincent’s nurses and technical staff. “Our tax dollars should be used to finance the delivery of compassionate, community-based care, instead of padding the pockets of hospital executives.”

Osborn made her remarks during a July 24 gathering of coalition members at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Santa Fe. It was the latest in a series of events showcasing community support for St. Vincent’s nurses and technical staff – represented by NUHHCE – who have been negotiating with hospital executives over a new contract since May. A strike is possible on July 31 if no agreement is reached.

The Santa Fe New Mexican recently revealed that Christus St. Vincent executives have increased their pay rather than reinvest hospital profits for the patients and staff members who have helped create those profits.

“St. Vincent’s is a community hospital,” said Shirley Cruse, lead negotiator for District 1199. “Current contract proposals offered by hospital executives would greatly jeopardize patient care and safety and undermine the ability of St. Vincent’s nurses and hospital staff to continue delivering compassionate care.”

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