BNB6: Must Read Stories

The hospitals’ lowest-paid workers will receive a 6.75% increase over a period of about two years under a new contract, SEIU officials reported late Wednesday.

That means workers now at the hospitals’ $12.50 per hour minimum wage have managed to negotiate a slight annual wage increase until they reach $13.36 per hour in July 2022, which is still far from a living wage in Texas. 'We continue to be appalled that a corporation that pays $30 million to (its) CEO hasn’t established $15 (per hour) as a starting wage for its workers across the nation, said Elsa Caballero, president of SEIU Texas, in a recent statement.

HCA Healthcare, which owns and operates Mission Hospital in Asheville, reported this month that it made $1.4 billion in profits for the first three months of 2021, more than double the amount for the same period last year.

The new figures follow HCA’s report in February that annual profits rose to a record $3.8 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic… A year after announcing that its senior leaders would take 30 percent pay cuts during the pandemic, HCA reported last month that total compensation for its chief executive, Sam Hazen, rose [13.5%], to $30.4 million in 2020. Total pay for other senior HCA executives also rose significantly during the pandemic.

Profits up, ratings down

On Thursday, the Leapfrog Group downgraded Mission Hospital to a “B” rating in its Spring 2021 Hospital Safety Grade assessment, based on performance measures collected immediately prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also downgraded Mission Hospital’s overall rating, to four stars compared to five last year, and reported that patients gave Mission a three-star rating.

CMS uses a five-star quality rating system to measure the experiences Medicare beneficiaries have with their health plan and health care system. The latest ratings are based on data collected after HCA took over the Mission system.

Brevard, N.C., leaders are urging the state's attorney general to investigate why a flood of physicians have left rural Transylvania Regional Hospital, according to WLOS.

The Brevard leaders said they are worried about the future of the hospital after 14 physicians recently left the hospital, which is part of Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health. There have been a number of physician exits from the Mission Health system since it was taken over by Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare in 2019.

In mid-April independent monitoring firm Gibbins Advisors said it will examine the physician departures from Mission Health. Gibbins Advisors was appointed independent monitor of Mission Health as part of the transaction agreement with HCA. HCA agreed to certain commitments as part of the deal and the independent monitor determines if HCA is adhering to those commitments.

News 13 has confirmed through Mission Health that 14 doctors have recently parted ways with the community hospital. That prompted the Brevard City Council to send a letter to the North Carolina Attorney General's office asking for an independent review from the state. .

"I was absolutely floored when I heard that they were leaving," Copelof said, adding that she was alarmed by the amount of doctors leaving around the same time.

"I'm actually shocked because our hospital is something we are really really proud about in our community and most of our doctors have been associated with the hospital for years," Copelof told News 13.

"No metrics" when it comes to required services

For Copelof, less doctors, particularly specialists like surgeons, means less access to care. It's something she believed wouldn't change under HCA.

"So it says you're supposed to have surgical services available, well if you reduce the number of days and hours that you have a surgeon available, at what point does it become non-compliance?" asked Copelof.

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As the Frist Family, HCA’s Board Chair and largest shareholders, racked up more than $1.5 billion in two months and HCA hospital executives continue to put corporate profits over patient care, frontline HCA workers are being paid poverty wages. Click here to take action now.