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UMass Memorial Nurses Outraged Over Lack of Response by CEO

Saturday, August 02, 2014


Nurses who lead a press conference and delivered a letter to UMass Memorial in Worcester are upset with CEO Eric Dickson over the lack of reaction received after pleading with him to change hospital policy and staffing so that nurses can provide better healthcare to patients.

The nurses attempted to deliver a letter intended for CEO Dickson, but were instead met by Joseph Fournier, Vice President, Senior Human Resources Officer & Associate General Counsel. Although the letter was delivered to Dickson, David Schildmeier - Director of Public Communications with the Massachusetts Nurses Association – said that the nurses were never given the opportunity to speak with Dickson. The hospital did acknowledge the letter, but no immediate action was taken.

“UMass Memorial Health Care recognizes and values the contributions of our nurses and all of our caregivers in providing the outstanding care that we are recognized for both locally and nationally,” read a prepared statement from UMass Memorial. “We are committed to maintaining appropriate staffing levels to provide the high level of care that our patients need, expect and deserve every day.”

Nurses are upset with the UMass Memorial system because of the variety of staff cuts that have affected all hospitals within the system. Because of these staff cuts – some of which have eliminated entire units – nurses have had to take charge of more patients and procedures. Because of this, many nurses are saying that the current healthcare system at UMass Memorial hospitals is the worst they have ever seen.

Appealing to the Physician, Not the CEO

In sending the letter to CEO Eric Dickson, the nurses involved were hoping to appeal to the physician inside Dickson, not the CEO.

Having been an emergency room physician in the UMass Memorial system previously in his career, the nurses were hoping that the conference and letter would help to appeal to the doctor within Dickson, helping him to realize that staffing cuts are hurting patient care at the cost of additional hospital profits.

“In registering our opposition to these policies, nurses want to make clear that there is not a shred of medical or nursing research to support any one of these changes in patient care delivery – none,” said the letter given to Dickson. “In fact, all the scientific research makes clear that these changes can only result in an increase in complications, longer hospital stays, poorer patient outcomes and an increase in preventable readmission of patients at a time when our system ranks near the bottom in the state for preventable readmissions.”

Raising Public Awareness

In the coming weeks, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is set to do anything in their power to help enact some of the changes that the nurses throughout the UMass Memorial system have desperately been calling for.

While most of the nurses aren’t able to strike due to their contract situations, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is set to appeal to the public with a variety of outreach methods including local advertisements and a variety of signs. After all, the public will be just as effected by the lack of changes as the nurses who have been decrying change.

“We are really hoping to reach out to the public and alert them as to what is going on,” said Schildmeier. “Nurses are the canary in the coal mine so to speak; we really want to use every avenue possible to make sure that their concerns are heard.”


Related Slideshow: Central MA Non-Profit Hospital CEO Pay, From Least To Most

Here are the total annual compensation amounts for the CEOs of the four non-profit hospital groups in Central Massachusetts. The source is each hospital group’s latest available 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, which is filed with the IRS and available at Guidestar.org. The CEOs are shown here, from lowest to highest total compensation.

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#4 Winfield Brown

Salary: $192,828

President and CEO, Heywood Healthcare, with campuses in Athol and Gardner

Note: Henry Heywood Memorial Hospital and Athol Memorial Hospital merged in January 2013 to form Heywood Health Care. Brown, who had been president and CEO of Athol Memorial, became head of Heywood Health Care in August 2011. Daniel Moen, who had been president and CEO of Henry Heywood Memorial, was terminated in January 2011. His total compensation for fiscal 2011 was $993,456.

Latest available 1099 filing: Athol Memorial

Latest available 1099 filing: Henry Heywood Memorial

Prev Next

#3 Edward Moore

Salary: $461,607

President and CEO, Harrington Memorial Hospital, Southbridge

Latest available 1099 filing

Prev Next

#2 Francis Saba

Salary: $603,232

CEO, Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford

Latest available 1099 filing

Prev Next

#1 John O'Brien

Salary: $2,358,455

Former President and CEO, UMass Memorial Health Care, with campuses in Worcester, Clinton, Leominster, Marlboro and Palmer

Note: John O’Brien retired as president and CEO in January 2013. Dr. Eric Dickson, MD, became the new president and CEO the following month. The UMass Memorial news release announcing Dickson’s appointment did not include his compensation package. According to UMass Memorial’s latest available 1099 form, Dickson received a total of $650,589 in compensation during the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2012.

Latest available 1099 filing


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