Legal Battle Between ARH & Nurses Association Concludes

By: Danielle Morgan
By: Danielle Morgan

A legal battle between Appalachian Regional Healthcare and the Kentucky and West Virginia Nurses Associations has come to a conclusion.

A federal judge ruled in favor of the Registered Nurses, saying ARH has to pay back money lost to the nurses plus interest.

Registered Nurses at Kentucky and West Virginia ARH facilities have been awarded a rough total of more than two million dollars.
That's the amount KNA members say will include interest. It's an amount that registered nurses are jumping for joy about.

It was the contract between nurses and ARH to be paid for 40 hours, for working three, 12 hour shifts, that executive director of the Kentucky Nurses Association, Sharon Mercer says puts the money back in the nurses pockets.

Even though the nurses were being paid for four extra hours they may not have worked, KNA officials say they were saving ARH money from paying time and a half for overtime when nurses were only scheduled to work eight hour shifts. In past interviews, ARH officials told WYMT, the schedule change was to save money and was not a violation of the contract, but a federal judge disagreed.

The judge's order follows an arbitrator's award back in April to reinstate the 36-40 work schedule and pay back the registered nurses with interest at the federal judgment rate.

ARH released this statement, saying "We're disappointed with the decision. We will be evaluating the decision with our attorneys to consider what, if any, additional action will be taken in this matter."

The decision can be appealed by ARH, but officials have not said for sure if they will pursue that option.


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