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Workplace Issues Today: Hospital fees create contention in Boston

The Service Employees International Union Local 1199 has been trying to organize workers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In the midst of their efforts the union discovered the ‘late-night fee’ charged by Beth Israel and five other Massachusetts hospitals, which bills patients a $30 surcharge if they are seen between the hours of 10pm and 8am. The hospital says it is a fairly common practice, and compares it with the different hourly wages many medical professionals receive for working at night. The union says that charging patients in “their hour of need” is unfair. Local 1199 held a rally yesterday outside the site of the hospital’s annual board meeting, calling for an end to the fees, and a refund for affected patients.

SeeUnion criticizes surcharges at Beth Israel’s ER,” by Elizabeth Cooney, The Boston Globe, Sep 23 2009 (JKW)

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