‘Questionable care’ is a misdiagnosis

Enloe takes issue with union’s unhealthy allegation

Mike Wiltermood has been the Chief Operating Officer at Enloe Medical Center since July 30, 2007. He previously was COO of the Fremont-Rideout Health Group in Yuba City, and before that CEO of Coulee Community Hospital in Grand Coulee, Wash.

As you may know, Enloe Medical Center is currently involved in labor negotiations with Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW). I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that Enloe’s Board of Trustees and those of us representing the leadership team at Enloe are sincere in our desire to finalize a contract with SEIU-UHW and believe that the employees represented by the union feel the same way.

Recently, we provided an offer to the union that included market-competitive wages (as determined by a Chico State University-commissioned survey) and a health plan with free premiums that we would like to offer all employees. The union countered this proposal and in good faith we agreed to consider what they were asking.

Unfortunately, prior to our subsequent scheduled meeting of July 29, SEIU launched a negative media campaign. Of deepest concern are allegations of “questionable care” at our medical center.

Like many hospitals across the country, Enloe has its challenges. However, our response to the ever-changing regulatory environment we find ourselves in has been very rewarding.

After undergoing a very complex, difficult survey process, we have satisfied all 23 Conditions of Participation in the Medicare program. We are fully accredited by the Joint Commission. We are moving forward with Planetree—a patient-centered approach that seeks to humanize and personalize health care. We are developing plans to recruit and retain quality physicians well into the future. And, we are beginning the work of improving employee engagement with help from the Gallup company.

We are proud of our accomplishments, and I have every confidence that our employees are committed to safe, high-quality care.

In spite of this forward progress, SEIU, an international organization of 2 million members, is utilizing its corporate resources in an attempt to undermine the efforts of our dedicated employees and medical staff.

It is frustrating to have this distraction when we must be continuously ready to respond to major medical situations such as those generated by the recent fires. With the temporary closure of Feather River Hospital in Paradise, our employees made sure that the health needs of our area continued to be met in spite of all the difficulties.

This kind of effort should be applauded, not discounted with allegations of “questionable care.” It is our hope that our community will recognize the great work that is done every day by our employees and not be distracted by SEIU’s negative campaign.

Thank you for your continued support as we work to bring our labor negotiations to a fair and equitable conclusion.