Minnesota nurses are paying off medical debts for 1,800 families

It's a thank you to the community for supporting nurses in last year's strike.

Over a thousand Minnesota families with medical debt are about to get some major relief, all thanks to our nurses.

The Minnesota Nurses Association announced Thursday it will pay off past due accounts for 1,800 Minnesota patients, lifting more than $2.6 million in debt off families.

It's a thank you to the community on the anniversary of last year's major nurse strike against Allina Health, the union says.

The MNA also said it hopes the donations will draw attention to what it calls a "broken healthcare system" where medical debt is an ongoing issue for people across the state.

More details will be announced at a press conference on Monday, June 19, where nurses will show a copy of the check and rip up a contract to absolve the debts.

One year ago

MNA Nurses from all five Allina hospitals in the Twin Cities began a seven-day strike on June 19 last year, and then a much longer, 37-day strike later that fall.

Health insurance coverage was the main reason for the strikes, but the two sides also sparred over workplace safety and staffing issues.

The MNA – which represents the roughly 5,000 nurses who work at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Phillips Eye Institute, United Hospital and Unity Hospital – and Allina Health came to an agreement last October.

The Star Tribune says the two strikes ended up costing Allina $149 million as hospitals were forced to hire hundreds of replacement nurses.

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