Vermont Press Releases

Union-management partnership at Fletcher Allen Health Care improves patient care

For immediate release
Feb 6. 2012

Liana Katz
Cornell University
Healthcare Transformation Project
Phone: 212-340-2812
Email: [email protected]

The partnership between Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (VFNHP) Local 5221 is featured in a Feb. 15 report being released by the Healthcare Transformation Project at Cornell University’s ILR School.

In addition to state health reform initiatives (Act 48), recent joint labor-management work at Fletcher Allen Health Care could provide a national model for labor-management partnerships, according to the report.

“The partnership, known as the Model Unit Process, is particularly timely as it advances the goals of both state and national health reform,” according to Peter Lazes, director of Cornell’s Healthcare Transformation Project.

“Vermont’s Act 48, which introduces a single-payer system to provide affordable care to all Vermonters, opens the door to similar partnerships. This study details how and why the VFNHP Local 5221 and Fletcher Allen partnership works. It provides a roadmap for change,” Lazes said.

VFNHP Local 5221 and Fletcher Allen Health Care’s partnership documented in the report shows how labor and management are working together to improve patient care and control health care costs.

Since 2006, this partnership has focused on departmental quality improvement initiatives to restructure the way care is provided. Initial assessment of the impact of the labor-management partnership seems to indicate potential gains in:

  • Improved infection control, patient safety and clinical practices on inpatient units
  • Reduction of patient falls
  • Improved communication between units nurses and managers
  • Reduced nursing staff turnover and vacancies
  • Cost savings due to reduced need to hire traveling nurses
  • Improved staff retention
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