Healthcare Workers Union Opposes Lab Sale to Quest Diagnostics

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Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

HYANNIS –A healthcare workers union that represents more than 1,700 members at Cape Cod Healthcare are opposing the company’s proposal to sell its outreach laboratory services to Quest Diagnostics.

Members of 1199 SEIU sent a letter this week to Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Executive Director David Seltz explaining their concerns.

They say that the proposed outsourcing of services from Cape Cod Healthcare to Quest may reduce costs, but will place an extra burden on the backs of healthcare workers.

According to the union, the transaction could result in more than 50 worker layoffs at Cape Cod Healthcare.

Positions at the locations range from $11.72 to more than $44 per hour.

In a statement, Cape Cod Healthcare said “everyone who works at [Cape Cod Healthcare] is valued greatly and changes like this are difficult for all involved.” The company said that affected employees will receive consideration for other open jobs within Cape Cod Healthcare. Those who cannot find new jobs in the system will be eligible for severance pay and other transition services.

Under the proposed model, Quest will be responsible for all diagnostic testing at the freestanding centers and core labs.

“The Quest agreement offers an important opportunity to enhance access to quality, affordable and convenient lab services, while reducing costs to our patients, physicians and other clinical partners. Insurers and government payers have demanded that we lower costs and make it clear that they do not expect to continue to reimburse us for the full cost of our lab testing in the long-term. A rapidly changing healthcare environment, along with unsustainable costs, are forcing organizations like CCHC to make these kinds of difficult decisions,” the company said.

“We have every confidence in Quest’s ability to deliver quality, safe, and timely results to our patients and providers. The Quest transaction was not entered into lightly or without a thorough analysis of the benefits and costs to our patients, our physicians, and our staff,” Cape Cod Healthcare added.

Around 250 lab employees will remain as Cape Cod Healthcare employees after the transitions.

The transition requires approval by the Commission.

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