St. John Providence nurse anesthetists soon could be out of jobs
More than 60 nurse anesthetists at two St. John Providence hospitals will be without jobs Friday, after they refused to sign two-year contracts with a private company.
The nurses at the Southfield and Novi facilities raised concerns about the company, PSJ Anesthesia, owned by an anesthesiologist at the hospital, said attorney David Shea, who is representing the 68 nurses.
The Bingham Farms company was formed two weeks before the nurses were informed of the outsourcing plan in October, he said.
“They wanted to learn something about Dr. Dominick Lago,” Shea said. “Does he have experience running a ... business? What are the policies and procedures? These were all questions that we were asking.”
Shea said that neither the hospital system nor PSJ would provide the information the nurses requested.
Since the initial announcement, one or two nurses have signed with PSJ, Shea said, but the others decided they would rather not work than sign a two-year contract with the company.
“That’s how strong they felt about it,” he said. “They simply didn’t have the level of trust to entrust their careers to this company. You’re talking about highly paid professionals. These people have masters in anesthesia and they are the last face you see when you’re put to sleep and the first face you see when you wake up. These are really substantial jobs.”
There was a lack of trust with the new private company, said Greg Bozimowski, a nurse anesthetist for the hospital since 1989. He said he would have hoped the employees would have been brought into the decision-making process.
“Now I will be looking for employment elsewhere along with my other colleagues,” he said. “Starting over in some ways. So many of us have been there for so long.”
In a statement Wednesday, St. John Providence said the nurse anesthetists still have a chance to request a transfer to PSJ, which has offered comparable pay and benefits.
Regardless, there will be no interruption in patient care, according to the hospital system.
“The PSJ Anesthesia staffing model is complete and ready to go,” the statement read. “All anesthetizing locations are 100 percent operational, and will continue to provide safe and efficient anesthesia services after Dec. 31, 2015, without any interruption in care.”
According to St. John Providence, PSJ was formed by anesthesiologists with more than 40 years of experience at Providence.