Ascension’s Year of Lawsuits, Strikes, and Strife

Can the hospital giant’s reputation ever recover?


Nurses strike June 27 (Photo by John Anderson)

June 27: Ascension, the Catholic nonprofit hospital chain giant, has had a hell of a year. Hot off the heels of a scathing New York Times investigation into its staffing crisis, initiated by its own profiteering, in January Ascension was on track to drop 66,000 customers insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest insurer in Texas. Luckily they struck a new deal just under the end-of-month deadline. Also that month, Ascension became embroiled in a lawsuit with the Travis County health care district Central Health, its partner in delivering health care to low-income county residents. Ascension's year of trouble came to a head June 27, when unionized nurses at Ascension Seton on 38th initiated the largest nurses' strike in Texas history over Ascension's refusal to fully staff the hospital. Though they only planned a one-day absence, the hospital locked them out for an additional three days, citing contracts with the fill-in nurses. Unionized nurses struck again December 6, after dealing with continued understaffing and what they describe as inadequate supplies. Amid all this, can Ascension's reputation ever recover from a scandal-filled year?

Can Ascension’s reputation ever recover from a scandal-filled year?

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ascension Seton, National Nurses United, Central Health, Top 10s 2023

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