Healthcare

Care Providers Highlight Passage of 5% Rate Increase

Increase comes as part of the supplemental budget

St. Paul, Minn – On the last day of session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a 5% rate increase for the home-based long-term care industry, with 80% going to workers, beginning later this year. While inflation rose 24.5% between 2003 and 2012, provider rates that pay for caregiver wages increased only 3.4% during that same period. After years of low funding levels that could not keep up with rising costs in the field, workers praised the move as a great first step towards properly funding these essential services. (more…)

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MNsure Success Story

Chaleena Hogfoss, a single mom from St. Paul, says the Affordable Care Act has saved her from thousands of dollars in medical debt.

Up until August 2013, Chaleena was able to stay on her mom’s insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. Over the past three years on her mom’s insurance, Chaleena had three major medical emergencies – one was for her gall bladder and the other two were for reproductive issues. Each time, she was really ill, nearly dying at one point.
Chaleena says without the ACA extension to age 26, she would’ve been uninsured and would now be in medical debt for life.

Chaleena’s mom, Kelly Gibbons, has insurance through her employer, SEIU Local 284, where she works as a contract organizer.

Chaleena has currently been uninsured since August when she turned 26, which she says is a scary place to be in since she’s had so many health issues over the past few years. While she has worked at Taco Bell and other fast food restaurants, she currently is unemployed and looking for work. Recently she had another health incident which put her in the hospital. While there, an advisor at the hospital helped her complete the process to sign up for MNsure for both herself and her daughter. She qualifies for MNsure free of charge, since she is currently unemployed. Chaleena says she’s currently waiting back to hear the final word that her insurance is processed.

Chaleena and her daughter live with Chaleena’s mom, Kelly. She says even when she’s working fulltime, as a low-wage worker, she can’t afford to pay rent and the rest of her bills. Chaleena is thankful she can sign up herself and her daughter for insurance through MNsure, because she doesn’t know how she would be able to afford health insurance otherwise. With her medical history, she knows how important having insurance is for her family.

 

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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Healthcare Workers Praise MNSure Rates, Say Will Lead to Higher Quality Health Care for More Minnesotans

MNSure rates some of the lowest in the nation

Saint Paul, Minn. – As the new health insurance exchange MNSure releases its rates today, members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota are ecstatic to see that MNSure will have some of the lowest rates in the country. The cost for plans sold on the exchange are coming in much lower than originally projected, which mirrors national trends as reported in several studies, most recently the Kaiser Family Foundation, which show exchange premiums throughout the country coming in lower than forecasted.

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“This means individuals will be able to purchase more healthcare coverage and keep more money in their pockets,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “SEIU worked closely with Governor Dayton and the DFL legislative majorities to enact a consumer-friendly exchange that brings better healthcare coverage to 1.3 million Minnesotans. Today’s numbers showing that Minnesota will have the lowest average rates in the country show we delivered on the promise of more affordable, quality healthcare coverage for more Minnesotans.”

The MNSure exchange will allow Minnesotans to easily compare health plans side-by-side and empower them to select the plan that best fits their needs and budget. An estimated 300,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans are expected to use MNSure to access affordable, quality insurance. The exchange is a central component of the Affordable Care Act.

“These people are those who previously would run the risk of being turned away at hospitals and clinics,” said Yankuba Fadera, an Emergency Department Tech at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “Working in an emergency room, I see what happens when Minnesotans are forced to rely on emergency care, rather than being able to visit a doctor for preventative care or regular check-ups. That results in a lower quality of care and more cost to taxpayers. These rates will provide thousands of Minnesotans with the peace of mind knowing that every plan offered through MNSure will cover a comprehensive set of benefits like emergency room visits, prescriptions, mental health, and preventive care like cancer screenings and immunizations – and all at affordable rates.”

“For four years, the GOP has done nothing on healthcare reform except predict catastrophe from the Affordable Care Act,” continued Gulley. “These premiums, which are much, much lower than predicted, mean the sky is not falling. Instead, the Affordable Care Act is working, and voters will know that in 2014. I’m proud of the active role our members at SEIU played in this process and look forward to the continued work they will do to care for Minnesotans at hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.”

 

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 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 15,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota. SEIU represents more than 30,000 members across Minnesota and is a powerful voice working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.

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Healthcare Workers Picket Over Demands to Slash Insurance

Nearly 100 healthcare workers from across the metro walked the picket line August 15 at the Aspen Medical Group Maplewood Clinic as part of an informational picket against contract demands being made by Allina Health. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members who work at nine Aspen Clinics have been in contract negotiations with their corporate parent, Allina Health, for months. Two weeks ago, Allina proposed to eliminate every union benefit they have fought for and won over the last decade.

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“This is the fight of our lives,” said Amy Root, a member of the bargaining committee. “As healthcare workers, we care deeply about the health and quality of life for those we care for. But if we aren’t ensured basic protections ourselves, how will we attract and retain the best workers out there? We are the frontline workers in these clinics – we need to be treated fairly so we can make certain that our patients are getting the very best care possible.”

The major sticking point for workers is Allina’s demand to base health insurance benefits on biometric screening results like BMI, many of which discriminate based on genetic factors outside a person’s control. Just a year ago, workers voted on whether they wanted to participate in the program and rejected it with 99 percent of the vote.

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Allina has also demanded the right to eliminate life insurance and long-term disability insurance, eliminate overtime based on the 8-hour workday, and eliminate all shift differentials: a complete gutting of earned benefits and the right to collectively bargain over them.

Aspen Clinics are owned by Allina Health and are in the process of being re-branded as Allina Health Clinics along with Allina Medical Clinics and Quello clinics, both of which are non-union. Workers say the proposed contract is an effort by Allina Health to rid workers of their right to collectively bargain over changes to benefits and working conditions.

“Under the guise of ‘standardization’ Allina Health is attempting to gut almost every benefit in the Aspen contract and to lower their standards to those of non-contract employees. But together, healthcare members will stand up for a fair contract so we can continue providing the best quality of care possible for our friends, family and community members,” continued Root.

The contract covers around 350 members, who work in the nine clinics as LPNs, radiology technologists, medical assistants, lab technicians, phlebotomists and patient registration receptions. They will return to the bargaining table Monday.

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Governor Dayton Signs Bill, Historic Expansion of Collective Bargaining Rights for Minnesota Workers

St. Paul, MN – On Friday, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill which grants a historic expansion of collective bargaining rights for Minnesota workers. (more…)

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2013 Session Truly Historic, Moves Minnesota Forward to a Brighter Future

Legislators, Governor Dayton make crucial investments in education and health care while expanding rights for workers

St. Paul, MN – As the dust settles on the 2013 legislative session, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) say it will go down in history as one of the most successful legislative sessions, providing a balanced approach to making key investments in our middle class, while expanding the rights of collective bargaining for workers. (more…)

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House Passes Landmark Bill Granting Collective Bargaining Rights to Home Care Workers

Bill heads to Governor for signature

St. Paul, MN – More than 50 hours after first arriving at the Capitol Saturday afternoon, Sumer Spika joined a tired, but elated group of home care workers and recipients in celebration. (more…)

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Senate Vote Upholds Rights of Working Families

Home care workers celebrate following record-setting debate on bill to grant collective bargaining rights

St. Paul, MN – After 11 committees and a record-setting 17-hour debate on the Senate floor, home care workers are celebrating a win after the Senate voted 35 – 32 to pass a bill that would extend collective bargaining rights to workers in self-directed public home care programs. (more…)

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Home Care Workers Prepare for Senate Floor Vote Tuesday

Senate to vote Tuesday on bill extending collective bargaining rights to workers in public home care programs

St. Paul, MN – Nikki Villavicencio-Tollison is not new to the political process. As a leader among disability advocates, she has spent years working to improve services for the disability community. This year, among her many priorities, is a bill that would grant collective bargaining rights to personal care attendants (PCAs) and other home care workers in self-directed programs. (more…)

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Home Care Workers Celebrate as Bill Heads to Floor Votes in House and Senate

Bill that would extend collective bargaining rights to workers in public home care programs passes final committee votes

St. Paul, MN – After months of walking the halls, talking with legislators and attending hearings at the State Capitol, home care worker Darleen Henry is overjoyed that a bill that would give her the right to vote on whether she wants to form a union is finally headed to the floor for final votes in both the House and the Senate. (more…)

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