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Nurses Vs. Steward: Walk-Out At Quincy Medical Center Meeting

Sounds like a particularly stormy night in Quincy last night. The Patriot Ledger's Jack Encarnacao reports here that a hearing at Quincy High School on Steward Healthcare System's plan to buy the foundering Quincy Medical Center turned into a knock-down-drag-out (well, not literally) fight over nurses' pensions, and dozens of nurses walked out. He writes:

QUINCY — A public hearing on the proposed sale of Quincy Medical Center became a battleground in a labor fight between the prospective owner and nurses from other hospitals it has bought.
Dozens of members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association walked out of Tuesday night’s hearing at Quincy High School as a lawyer for Steward Health Care accused the union of distorting facts about the dispute over a pension plan.
“They are willing to let these important community hospitals potentially close, taking with them thousands of jobs and creating economic chaos, all because they want more than ever and don’t care who is hurt in the process,” Joseph Maher, Steward’s general counsel, said of the union.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association asked the state attorney general to delay approvals of Steward’s purchase of Quincy Medical Center and Morton Hospital in Taunton until the issue is resolved. The nurses submitted signed petitions Tuesday to Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre calling for a resolution to the dispute.

Will the nurses' complaints slow the sale of Quincy Medical Center to Steward? Not judging by how Jack's story ends:

While some speakers at Tuesday’s hearing expressed concern about the labor dispute, all stated support for Steward’s $34 million purchase of the financially ailing Quincy Medical Center.
“Quincy needs a hospital,” said state Rep. Ronald Mariano of Quincy. “I’m more concerned about what happens if we don’t make this deal.”

This program aired on August 10, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth blog.

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