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Beth Israel under attack for alleged mistreatment

United Healthcare Workers East have launched an ad campaign against Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to protest the hospital’s management style under CEO Paul Levy.
The union spearheaded the effort to publicize the ‘Eye on Beth Israel’ public information project, which aims to monitor the treatment of Beth Israel patients and employees.
The ‘Eye on B.I.’ website alleges that Beth Israel is involved in high health care costs, unsound financial practices, conflicts of interest, over-billing the government, shutting down community services and attacks on workers’ basic rights.
‘We’ve heard consistently that there is a lack of dignity and respect for workers,’ union Vice President Veronica Turner-Biggs said. ‘They receive health care from the state while working in an institution that provides it, and they’re barely making it.’
The protesters charge Levy is the only CEO in the Greater Boston area who publicly attacked a move to unionize hospital employees.
‘I think it’s atrocious for the boss to intervene in union elections so that valuable patient care dollars are spent on this,’ Turner said. ‘Workers should be free to choose on their own whether to join a union, free from intimidation.’
In May 2006, a national union attempted to unionize workers in all academic medical centers in Boston, while BIDMC CEO Paul Levy made a point to disagree with the need to unionize. He left the choice up to his employees.
‘I intend to advise you against creating a union here,’ Levy said in the May 2006 letter. ‘Ultimately, though, the choice will be yours, and we will respect your judgment on that matter if and when the time comes for a fair and free vote on this issue.’
Mike Fadel, the other union vice president, said Beth Israel has lost touch with its patients and good medicine in its effort to be more machine-like.
‘There is a growing concern across the city that B.I. has lost its sense of mission and is increasingly practicing a corporate style of medicine,’ Fadel said. ‘It must focus on its commitment of service to the Boston community.’
More than 1,000 Beth Israel employees received taxpayer-funded health insurance last year, Fadel said.
‘Historically, B.I. has been a source of great caregivers, people who have dedicated their lives to others,’ he said. ‘There is no reason why an institution such as this should not be able to provide healthcare assistance for its employees.’
Protester Pheobe Rounds said taxpayers should not have to pay for hospital workers’ health insurance.
‘ ‘Paul Levy speaks a big game of openness and disclosure,’ Rounds said. ‘Yet he doesn’t want to disclose that over 1,000 B.I. employees are receiving state-funded health care.’
Beth Israel employee of 17 years Daniel Lascaze did not participate in the protest and said he did not see a reason to unionize.
‘I’ve never seen a reason to vote for a union,’ he said. ‘I don’t trust them to solve problems.’
Rick Marshall, another employee, said he does not support the allegations against the hospital management.
‘I don’t really see that many problems here,’ he said.
Fadel said Levy refused to respond to accusations about Beth Israel’s reduction of services to the community. ‘ ‘ ‘
In a Wednesday letter to Beth Israel staff, Levy denied attempts to stop the unionization of employees and questioned the real intentions of the SEIU campaign against BIDMC.
‘Instead of recognizing our good intentions, our attributes and our initiatives on behalf of patients and employees, SEIU seeks to muddy our reputation with inaccurate and exaggerated claims,’ he said.

One Comment

  1. The title of this article is misleading and innaccurate.