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Union’s Supreme Court Victory Bears Fruit

Department of Health posting jobs to implement Court’s ruling

The Department of Health (DOH) has begun to post new Population Health positions — a victory a long time in the making.

After winning a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case to bring nurses back to work, there remained 14 open positions original nurses did not want to return to fill. We met and discussed the issue with the Commonwealth, focusing on how to change the primary mission of those consultant positions to best address the needs of the public.

We reached agreement in November to post one position as a School Nurse Consultant based in the Northeastern District, bringing the complement of School Nurse Consultants to three — one in the East, Central, and Western parts of the state.

The remaining 13 positions will be a newly-created title of Population Health Consultant. This position has flexibility to focus not just on general issues impacting public health, but on the specific needs of different districts and parts of the state. We have finalized the districts where these positions will be located based on population and workload needs and the DOH has begun posting them.

The DOH is also re-opening state health centers but progress has been slow where the Department of General Services has to find new space, negotiate new leases, and then complete additional construction to make the new space usable.

We have reviewed the status and every county but one has a new location and is in the process of finalizing leases. Carbon County remains a challenge in finding a new location for the state health center. New locations save the Commonwealth money by reconfiguring and using less space. We discussed some concerns nurses have with the smaller layout and reached agreements on fixing some key concerns.

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