News & Events

How Will Berkshire Medical Center Spend its $47 Million in Profits? Nurses Seek Answers at Rally in North Adams on Thursday, Oct. 5

10.05.2017

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – During a 5 p.m. rally in North Adams on Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center nurses and advocates will bring attention to the economic and health care injustice of BMC making $47 million in profits last year – more than three times the state average – while refusing to provide safe RN staffing and essential hospital services in North Adams.

North Adams Rally

What: BMC nurses and advocates, including the North County Cares Coalition, will advocate for a fair BMC RN contract and full hospital services in North Adams. Learn more about the illegal closure of North Adams Regional Hospital at www.northcountycares.com.

When: 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5

Where: Outside Berkshire Health North at 71 Hospital Ave. in North Adams.

“How can a hospital that relies on public dollars and turns a huge profit justify the 437 times nurses have documented unsafe patient care conditions?” said Alex Neary, RN and Co-Chair of the MNA BMC Bargaining Unit. “Berkshire Medical Center can afford to ensure safe patient care, but refuses to be held accountable. Management would rather exert absolute control over nurse staffing than agree to a reasonable compromise like limiting charge nurse assignments so we can provide safe care at all times. Our patients deserve better, our nurses deserve better and our community deserves better.”

Berkshire Medical Center Profits

Massachusetts 2016  hospital industry median profit margin: 3.1%

Northeast U.S. 2015 hospital industry median profit margin: 2.8%

BMC 2016 profit margin: 9.7%

BMC 2016 profits: $47.2 million

 

Berkshire Medical Center Profit History/Comparison:

 

 

Year

BMC Profit Margin

BMC Profit Margin relative to MA Median

BMC Profit  Margin relative to NE median

 

2016

9.7%

313%

346%

 

2015

10.2%

329%

364%

 

2014

9.7%

313%

346%

 

2013

8.8%

284%

314%

 

2012

11.8%

381%

421%

 

       

 

Source data:

 

 

http://www.chiamass.gov/assets/Uploads/mass-hospital-financials/2016-annual-report/berkshire.pdf

Rather than restore full hospital services in North Adams and agree to a fair RN contract that provides safe RN staffing levels and quality, affordable health insurance, Berkshire Health has used its profits to fund large executive salaries. In 2015, CEO David Phelps’ compensation was $863,000 and the top ten executives took home more than $5 million in salary and other benefits.

One-Day Strike and Lock Out Background

BMC refused to allow its own nurses back into the hospital on Wednesday morning after their 24-hour strike ended. Nurses were ready to return to caring for their patients after advocating for them and a fair contract. The hospital had previously announced it would lock out BMC nurses and keep them outside for four days as a consequence of the strike. The hospital said instead it would pay for replacement nurses from outside the community. The MNA is seeking information from the employer to counter evidence that this is retaliatory and therefore unlawful.

The nearly 800 registered nurses of Berkshire Medical Center, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, delivered a 10-day notice to hospital management on Friday, Sept. 22 notifying BMC of their intent to hold a one-day strike beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and running until 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

BMC nurses have been bargaining in good faith for a year, seeking to ensure that their patients are able to receive the safest and most effective nursing care possible. The hospital has refused to negotiate over concrete improvements to patient care and RN staffing. BMC management has also refused to provide information necessary for nurses to negotiate quality, affordable health insurance.  

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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.

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