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Palomar Health Reaches Four-Year Deal With Nurses, Caregivers

Aired 8/19/13 on KPBS News.

Nurses and other caregivers at Palomar Health have tentatively agreed to a new four-year contract that covers more than 3,000 employees at three North County hospitals.

Nurses and other caregivers at Palomar Health have tentatively agreed to a new four-year contract that covers more than 3,000 employees at three North County hospitals.

Escondido’s Palomar Medical Center.

The new labor agreement calls for raises of up to 14.75 percent over four years. After months of negotiations, nurses convinced management to drop cuts in retirement benefits.

Palomar critical care nurse Sue Phillips, who was on the negotiating team, said nurses will also have a more powerful voice in patient care decisions.

"We're natural-born problem solvers," Phillips said. "That's what RNs do. We assess and diagnose and come up with a plan to help fix the problems."

Palomar opened a new $1 billion-dollar hospital in Escondido last year.

The district laid off 84 workers earlier this summer. The new deal requires nurses to get 30-day notice of any layoffs.

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