600 Allina Health clinicians successfully form the largest private physician alliance in the United States
About 600 doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants at Allina Health clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin successfully unionized on Monday, creating the largest private physician union in the United States, with formal certification from the National Labor Relations Board.
As of the time of certification, the consortium consisted of 60 clinics in Minnesota and 1 clinic in Wisconsin.
“I’m so excited. I’m so excited,” said Dr. Katherine Oyster, a family medicine and obstetrician at Allina Health Cottage Grove Clinic and a member of the newly formed Physicians Council SEIU Local 10-MD union.
“It’s ‘the hard work begins,'” Allina Health Maplewood Clinic pediatrician Dr. Kristin Sanders-Gendreau said when asked about her reaction.
“My hope is that Allina will see this as an opportunity to really capture and listen to the heart, soul and backbone of health care – which is primary care clinicians – and allow us to be part of that process so that we can empower ourselves and patients’ lives become better,” Saunders-Jandro added.
Unlike other labor disputes in the national spotlight, organizing providers say they are not fighting for wages or better benefits.
“It sounds cliche, but I think the most important thing we’re asking for is a seat at this table,” Sanders-Jandro said.
Oyster and pediatric nurse practitioner Beth Gunhus echoed those sentiments in an interview earlier Sunday.
“Allina has put in place a structure with a lot of committees. I don’t know that we need to reinvent the wheel. I think we just need to be able to really participate in those decisions,” Sanders-Jandro continued, referring to clinicians who said They hope to improve patient care decisions.
According to all of the providers mentioned above, the first step is to loosen clinic metrics, which Sanders-Jandro explained are based on the number of patients a provider sees and the health status of those patients under their care. Measure the productivity of a service provider by how much it has improved. .
Some of this data is important, she continued, but many of the required metrics hinder the most effective care.
“Perhaps, getting better is all one can hope for. But to meet that standard, you really have to put more pressure on the patient than the individual patient needs to,” Sanders-Jandro said.
Oyster added, “Being able to really tailor medicine to their specific needs is something we’re taught how to do and it’s something we’ve been doing less of and why I think a lot of us are really excited to try and Get conditional moves so we can get back to business.”
“I think we’ve made it clear that this is very important to the health of our community and every family,” Gunhus concluded.
Union organizers expect to spend about a year and a half negotiating before signing an initial contract with Allina Health.
“It would be premature and speculative to discuss the potential impact of a yet-to-be-negotiated labor contract,” an Allina Health spokesperson wrote in a statement Monday, adding, “Patients will continue to be retained throughout the process. At the center” of everything we do. “
Allina’s full statement is below:
“At Allina Health, our nursing teams deliver exceptional patient care, and joining the union will not change our strong commitment to the communities we serve or impact their access to care. It is premature and speculative to discuss the potential impact of labor contracts that have not yet been negotiated. In healthcare, the average time to negotiate a first contract is over 500 days, and the average across all industries is over 400 days. Throughout this process, patients will continue to be at the center of everything we do.“