NOCH settles with union in privacy dispute over fired nurses case

A dispute between North Ottawa Community Hospital and the union representing a couple of its former nurses over patient information has been settled, avoiding a trial that was set to commence just two days later. "It took almost six months, but two nurses at the North Ottawa Community Hospital have finally received vindication from the employer,' said Mary Holbrook of the Michigan Nurses Association in a statement released Tuesday.
Mark Brooky
Aug 12, 2011

 

Jen VanSkiver, chief communications officer for the North Ottawa Community Health System, said the two registered nurses were “terminated for cause.” The union had requested unrestricted access to the medical records of more than 40 patients as part of the labor arbitrations, claiming NOCH inappropriately discharged the nurses from employment.

One of the two discharge arbitration cases has been decided in favor of the hospital, upholding the discharge as just; and the other arbitration case is still pending, VanSkiver said.

The names of the nurses have not been released.

The MNA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 8, stating that the hospital was refusing to provide the necessary information to represent the nurses in their termination cases. The NLRB agreed and issued a complaint against NOCH, asserting that the hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act by failing to provide the information and failing to negotiate a reasonable accommodation with the union for the information that NOCH claimed was confidential.

Holbrook said the hospital also “unreasonably delayed providing the information.”

VanSkiver said hospital officials cooperated fully in the NLRB process and offered alternatives to full access to patient records.

The issue was set to go to trial on Aug. 3.

On Aug. 1, the union and hospital agreed to a settlement, which requires NOCH to post a notice to their employees.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

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