FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 4, 2012, 4:30 PM EST
Contact: Jeff Hall, 617-281-8384, firstname.lastname@example.org
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
As cost control debate looms, healthcare workers weigh in and will step up legislative advocacy
BOSTON, MA – The state’s largest healthcare union released a statement this afternoon regarding the latest healthcare cost control proposal from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Members of 1199SEIU say they will be stepping up their legislative advocacy as debate on the highly anticipated reform measures begins in earnest this week.
In addition to being the largest healthcare union, 1199SEIU is also the most politically active union in the state. Union members are planning a flurry of activity and legislative outreach in coming weeks as the closely monitored cost control debate heats up. That activity will kick off tomorrow with full page advertisements in local newspapers (attached), followed by a series of mobilization meetings with union leaders in the 1199SEIU activist network at hospitals and clinics across the state.
Union members will begin placing thousands of calls to legislators and organizing a series of caregiver mobilizations to the State House for the exclusive purpose of impacting the cost control discussion, including a major mobilization announced for Tuesday, June 26.
Lawmakers have been anticipating the official public reaction from 1199SEIU members to the latest House proposal, following the union’s decision to not offer public comment on the initial version of the House legislation. That version raised concerns for healthcare employees and providers alike, but 1199SEIU caregivers feel progress has been made on some of those key issues in the new House proposal.
Beginning in April 2011, 1199SEIU members who are employed by hospitals and clinics across the state began a lobbying and public advertising push around the payment reform bill. That effort focused on improving Medicaid rates and advocating measures to ensure job security for workers in the state’s largest employment industry. (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/04/05/union_trying_to_save_jobs_in_health/)
Now with the Senate having approved its version and the House preparing for debate in advance of a conference committee, the healthcare workers are gearing up to again go public with their take on the state of the cost control debate. 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner released a statement this afternoon regarding the latest House version of the bill and vowed further action in the weeks and months ahead.
“From a frontline healthcare worker perspective, the new House proposal represents progress towards the important goal of controlling medical costs while preserving high quality care and jobs within our state’s largest employment industry – healthcare.
There is still room for improvement in the bill and healthcare workers will be ramping up our advocacy to legislators during the upcoming debate, amendment, and conference committee phases. 1199SEIU members have played an active and vocal role since the beginning of the broader conversation around payment reform and will be engaging in a new level of advocacy at this juncture.
The current House proposal satisfies many of the key criteria by which 1199SEIU members have been assessing various cost control proposals. 1199SEIU has a generally favorable outlook towards the current House proposal because of the steps it takes towards improving Medicaid rates; allocating funding for workforce training; expanding the definition of healthcare costs to include pharmaceutical and other costs; as well as prescribing a more collaborative approach towards addressing medical spending by providers.”