ELCH Nurses Nix Contract, Stops Merger with HMHP

EAST LIVERPOOL -- The rejection of a contract offer by nurses at East Liverpool City Hospital appears to have also nixed the hospital’s pending merger with Humility of Mary Health Partners -- and put the future of the hospital itself in doubt, administrators say.

Nurses filed a 10-day strike notice May 31 then withdrew it and returned to the bargaining table. The sticking point reportedly is the hospital's demand for 16-hour shifts without overtime pay.

“Administrators of River Valley Health Partners East Liverpool City Hospital are disappointed to learn that the latest contract offer was rejected by the East Liverpool Nurses Association,” the hospital said in a statement posted late Thursday.

“The administration of ELCH offered a fair and competitive contract to the nurses, which compared favorably to health care facilities throughout the region. As anticipated the rejection of the latest offer prevents the merger with Humility of Mary Health Partners. ELCH will now explore all options that will ensure access to care for our community.”

HMHP and River Valley Health Partners, which operates the hospital, announced Feb. 20 their “letter of intent to fully integrate with one another (READ STORY).”

Said Kenneth Cochran, RVHP president and CEO, in February, “We have been looking diligently for a long-term organizational partner that will provide high quality health care to our community, needed financial stability, and health care leadership in times of great challenge.”

When it was announced, the timetable for the merger to be complete was this summer.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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