Bozeman Deaconess
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Bozeman Deaconess Reaches Settlement with NLRB

March 27, 2013

Bozeman Deaconess Health Services (BDHS) has reached a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding the unfair labor practice charges filed against the Hospital by the Montana Nurses Association (MNA).

Two charges involved a medication error and the circumstances surrounding the review of that incident. As part of BDHS’ quality and safety initiatives, all medical errors are routinely reviewed internally to look for systems break downs. The focus of a review is to determine why an error occurred in order to mitigate the potential of it happening in the future. The majority of the reviews find that human errors are a symptom but not the cause of an error. Unless there is a repetitive behavior these reviews are not disciplinary in nature. In this situation, BDHS did not consider a medical error review to be subject to the National Labor Relations Act. This misunderstanding resulted in filing of two of the complaints—by not giving a bargaining employee the right to have union representation during the medication review, and failure to provide information to an MNA officer regarding the employee involved in the review. BDHS has now initiated policy modifications in response to the NLRB findings.

The third charge was related to a Bozeman Deaconess practice of asking employees to maintain confidentiality by not discussing what was reported during the investigation of a complaint regarding an adverse work situation. Confidentiality was a key component to prevent bias and maintain integrity of the process. BDHS has discovered that there are National Labor Relations Act limitations on requiring confidentiality during workplace investigations and has modified its policies accordingly.

In response to the findings by the NLRB, BDHS has taken steps to maintain the integrity of our quality and safety review process and to address complaints regarding any reported adverse work situation, while at the same time meet the requirements of the NLRB.

Bozeman Deaconess Health Services remains committed to providing highly reliable, coordinated, exceptional care and has received many national quality and safety awards which recognize these efforts on behalf of the community we serve.
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