Nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck are considering unionizing over operational changes they say are harming patient care.
Mary Turner, president of the 20,000-member Minnesota Nurses Association, said she met with the Bismarck nurses a couple weeks ago after they contacted her group asking for help.
“I think it’s telling that they came to us,” said Turner of the nurses, who have expressed concern over what they believe are declining care standards that are causing the local hospital to lose its positive reputation.
“Since CHI took over, it’s been going down hill,” Turner said the nurses told her.
Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives, of which St. Alexius is an affiliate, has been dogged by financial issues for more than a year. The company has been operating at a loss and struggling against yet another downgrading of its credit ratings from several major ratings agencies during this past year. At the beginning of March, Standard & Poor’s took the hospital down from an A- to a BBB+ rating.