Labor-management partnerships get results

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A new report, "How Labor-Management Partnerships Improve Patient Care, Cost Control, and Labor Relations," from the Healthcare Transformation Project at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, illustrates how labor-management partnerships are having a positive impact on patient care and controlling costs.

The report profiles joint work involving frontline staff, unions and management at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont, Kaiser Permanente's San Rafael Medical Center and San Diego Medical Center in California, and the Contact Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Advances cited in the report include:

Improved turnaround time for test results;Increased awareness about workplace safety;Improved patient satisfaction scores;Quicker access to home care services; andDecreased staff turnover.

"Partnerships between labor and management are extremely important to create a healthcare system that Americans deserve," says Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center. "With a dialogue of mutual respect and understanding, we can delivery high-quality, cost-effective and coordinated care that is centered on the patients and their families."

"This report provides a road map for how to structure union-management partnerships in a healthcare setting," says Peter Lazes, director of the Healthcare Transformation Project.

To read the executive summary, visit www.ilr.cornell.edu/healthcare/upload/Executive-Summary-Final-3-7-12.pdf. The full report is available at www.ilr.cornell.edu/healthcare/upload/Case-Studies-Final-3-7-2012.pdf.