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Orleans Community Health says it’s striving for affordable healthcare

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2015 at 12:00 am

OCH and union are at odds in contract negotiations

MEDINA -Employees at Orleans Community Health/Medina Memorial Hospital will be doing a public demonstration today and Saturday in downtown Medina, trying to build community support for a new contract with pay increases.

Orleans Community Health’s leadership team has been meeting with the union since late November, often meeting twice a week to work out a new labor agreement.

There are 281 employees from OCH in 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Their contract expired on Dec. 31, 2014.

“At this time, the SEIU has continued to support contractual increases that would cost about $1.7 million over the current contract,” OCH officials said in a press release this morning.

Union leaders say OCH has had several recent positive developments, including the opening of an Urgent Care site in Albion, the sale of Orchard Manor and $500,000-plus in renovations to a 30-bed North Wing at the hospital.

The hospital recently was designated a “Critical Access Hospital,” which brings the prospect of higher reimbursement rates through Medicare. However, hospital leaders say the exact financial implications is unknown.

“The changes in healthcare reimbursement and shifts in patient volume continue to impact many area healthcare organizations like Orleans Community Health,” OCH said in a statement this morning. “The current contract includes pay practices such as daily overtime and shift differential (from 7.5% to 20% of the hourly pay rate). These pay practices can no longer be supported under the current healthcare environment. OCH did not propose any change in health insurance or pension for employees. Orleans Community Health must make sure we have affordable and quality healthcare available for our community.”

Hospital employees plan to be in downtown Medina today at the corner of Main Street and West Center Street from noon to 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. They will be there on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.