NMC Commentary

Did NMC Raise its Minimum Wage to $14 hour?

Yes. This move to a $14 per hour minimum wage comes out of recognition of the high performance standards we carry for all our employees as we count on the entire team to provide exceptional care for every patient, always. After careful consideration of the needs of our employees for a liveable wage and the benefit of strong recruitment and retention on patient care and organizational financial health, this pro-active increase was recommended by our Leadership Team and approved by our community Board of Directors as the right strategy for NMC.

NMC’s vision is to be “nationally recognized for excellence and value in healthcare, as we partner to improve the wellness of our community and become a destination of choice for patients, staff, and medical staff.” By strengthening our ability to recruit and retain top talent in front-line positions of Patient Care Attending, Patient Access, Environmental Services, Restaurant & Catering, Phlebotomy, Switchboard, etc., NMC is better positioned to achieve “excellence and value” in all we do. This increase will help avoid quality employees from being forced to leave NMC to take jobs in other industries simply to make ends meet for their families. Reducing turnover means less time and money spent on overtime coverage, recruitment costs, and training new staff. Those savings fund the increase and even more importantly, bring greater continuity to our staff which makes exceptional care easier to provide.

This move to a $14 minimum for 2020 is part of an overall wage plan carefully crafted to make the most of NMC’s investment in our people. NMC’s Leadership Team will not receive raises this year. Our organizational performance has not met our own expectations and those dollars are needed elsewhere in the organization. Raises for management have been put on hold as we watch the finances of the first quarter of the fiscal year unfold to evaluate if raises to this dedicated team are possible. Our staff are receiving raises for 2020 effective this month. Staff who were earning less than $14 per hour were increased to $14. Those earning above $14 received merit raises based on their annual performance review level, with those having inconsistent or unsatisfactory performance being held accountable with no merit increase. Meanwhile, NMC continues to carefully monitor market trends and wage scales and practices to ensure our nurses and our entire staff are competitively and properly compensated for their dedicated service.

NMC continues to be squeezed financially by having achieved the “lower cost” and “lower utilization” status sought in the transformation to a capitated population model for healthcare across the state. We are doing the right things and leading in the state. The reimbursement structure for the care we provide has lagged behind and is still heavily in fee-for-service, so preventing the need for costly medical interventions and shifting emphasis to primary care arguably hurts us financially, but it is inarguably the right thing to do. Despite this ongoing challenge in the transformation, we must invest in our people and retain our top talent in all positions. Avoiding expensive and disruptive churning allows a stronger focus on exceptional care for all of us. Our people are our most important asset.

I believe this approach to raises and the new $14 minimum provides the most appropriate balance between investing in our people and working within NMC’s financial means. I am proud of the care this organization delivers and the dedication of our staff, and I am pleased we are able to move forward in this strategic direction.

— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer