Whose Fight is it Anyway?

Arizonans take great pride in their individuality and their unwillingness to bow to outside pressures telling them what to do. Well, those deeply held beliefs may soon be put to the test as a fight in California is now spilling over into our state.

From Tucson.com:

Arizona voters likely will be asked to cap what hospital executives can be paid, because of a spat between a California-based union and hospital chains.

Petitions containing 281,087 signatures were submitted Thursday to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office for a ballot measure to limit the total compensation for any hospital executive, manager or administrator to no more than what the president of the United States is paid. That is currently $450,000 a year.

Hospitals that do not comply could lose their state licenses. They would be subject to prosecution under state consumer fraud lawsuits.

It appears the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is losing its fight in California, so the union is now changing its target to Arizona.

Becker’s Hospital Review quoted Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) spokesperson Matthew Benson as saying a cap on executive pay would “harm healthcare and hurt patients.”
“If we’re going to have outside interests setting arbitrary caps on what hospital leaders and executives can be paid, it’s going to hamper the ability of these hospitals to recruit the best people,” Benson said.

Arizona Hospital & Healthcare Association President & CEO Greg Vigdor wrote:

“It is clear to us that this initiative is a bargaining chit for a labor dispute in California rather than a serious public policy proposal regarding health care in Arizona.  And make no mistake- these outsiders are bringing bad policy to our state, policy that will do nothing to but harm health care for the people who live here.”

Dr. Robert Trenschel, President and Chief Executive Officer at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC), told the Yuma Sun, “I’m for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association’s stance that it would hinder attracting the best talent,” Trenschel said.“It needs to be recognized too that we are a nonprofit entity so we do conduct ourselves toward community resources and as such basically, we at YRMC and other nonprofits do the same thing, or at least other nonprofit healthcare organizations conduct what they call a fair market assessment.”

AzHHA strongly opposes this proposed legislation. We believe this disappointing development will become a major distraction on the important work we need to do to improve health care in Arizona. Let us know if you are willing to stand with us. And if your not, tell us why. After all, we are all striving to reach the same goal in the end…..to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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