The County Board of Supervisors (BOS) on July 29, 2011 voted to rapidly move forward with a “Governance Change” plan to create a Public Authority to oversee Natividad Medical Center (NMC) by Nov. 1, 2012.
While some very important steps need to take place before NMC is turned over to a Public Authority, the BOS approval was the first crucial step in the process of separating NMC from the county.
What does this change mean to NMC employees?
What authority would the BOS have over NMC after the separation is complete?
Who would be in charge of managing NMC?
Will NMC employees have a job after the change?
Will our union contract still be valid once the change occurs?
Will NMC employees’ current pay and benefits be protected?
What is the process and timeline for this to happen?
How do we ensure that NMC employees and services are protected through this process?
Q. What does this change mean to NMC employees?
The county would no longer be our employer. Our employer would be the new Public Authority (not yet created) that would oversee NMC. NMC would no longer be a department of the county. It would be a stand-alone employer. The details of the separation agreement and the employee/employer transfer remain unclear.
Since we would no longer be employees of the county, we would not be subject to any county policies or procedures.
All new policies and procedures covering NMC would be set by the hospital CEO and a Board of Trustees (not yet created). It remains unclear what policy and procedure changes there might be.
Q. What authority would the BOS have over NMC after the separation is complete?
The BOS would have only the authority to appoint the Board of Trustees – the group to oversee NMC. The selection of the Trustees would be based on very specific qualifications.
Q. Who would be in charge of managing NMC?
Short answer: The CEO.
Once a Public Authority is created to oversee NMC, the BOS would appoint a Board of Trustees. This Board would oversee the CEO.
Two of the biggest changes would be: 1. The CEO would answer only to the Board of Trustees — not to the County Board of Supervisors, as it is now; and 2. the County Supervisors would no longer have direct control over how NMC is managed.
Q. Will NMC employees have a job after the change?
The CEO of the hospital has said that everyone would keep their jobs; however, this is a key question we still need to confirm with the Board of Supervisors.
Q. Will our union contract still be valid once the change occurs?
It is critical that during this process we ensure that the contract that was recently ratified remains in place and all provisions and protections remain in full effect after the Authority is implemented.
Q. Will NMC employees’ current pay and benefits be protected?
The CEO has stated that NMC would “maintain salary and benefit structures similar to pre-authority implementation.” Specifics about pay and benefits post-Authority remain unclear at this time.
Q. What is the process and timeline for this to happen?
The County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward so that by Nov. 1, 2012, the Public Authority is created and NMC fully separated from the County.
There are two major steps that need to happen next: First, the state needs to pass legislation granting the county the power to create the Authority. Second, the BOS needs to pass an ordinance creating the Authority.
The county will produce a timeline and a more detailed plan that includes a robust community outreach component.
Q. How do we ensure that NMC employees and services are protected through this process?
SEIU 521 and NMC member-leaders will be there every step of the way to ensure that employees and services are not negatively impacted by this change.
For example, it is critical that employees be involved in the development of the state legislation and the county ordinance to ensure that employees and services are protected.
Stay connected and receive updates by visiting www.seiu521.org/nmc