Nurses set to battle Health Midwest 

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The FNHP alleges that cost-cutting staffing practices have increased the likelihood that patients will be cared for by people who have recently been transferred or "floated" onto units in which they have no experience or training and that patients are likely to receive less personal time and attention from licensed staff. The organization states that although it suspects a link between staffing and quality, too little data has been collected for a conclusion to be reached.

McCabe says the situation is not nearly as dire as it is being portrayed.

"We believe patient care has never been diminished or compromised in any way," she says. "Patient care as a hospital system is our main priority. It's our livelihood. It's what we do. We don't believe that patient care has been compromised in any way in the entire length of the system. We believe that we're all best served by direct communication between the two parties, so we hope that we can communicate directly with the nurses and not have a third party involved. I think that's also our reason for trying to communicate directly with them and not try to go point by point in the press, either."

Health Midwest would prefer to deal with the nurse situation internally. Nurses United seeks to take its case to the public and establish itself in the eyes of healthcare consumers as a group of patient advocates.

"We really want to do the right thing for patients," Barnett says.

Contact Andrew Miller at 816-218-6781 or andrew.miller@pitch.com.

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