Victors Care brings class-based medical care to University of Michigan hospital
28 September 2018
Nearly 6,000 nurses at Michigan Medicine, formerly University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor, have been working without a contract since June 30. Bargaining between Michigan Medicine and the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (UMPNC) union—an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Council—has reportedly stalled over the university’s refusal to commit to guaranteed nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, increased health care costs, and potential cuts to retirement benefits, among other things.
During the second week of September the nurses overwhelmingly authorized by 94 percent a three-day strike, now being referred to as a “work stoppage” by the UMPNC to comply with hospital intimidation over the illegality of strikes for public employees in Michigan. The strike authorization vote coincided with a federal lawsuit filed by the UMPNC against the hospital for allegedly prohibiting nurses and staff from wearing red shirts supporting their union while at work in the hospital.
However also at the center of the nurses’ opposition is growing anger over the implementation of a new “concierge” health care model known as Victors Care. Being called “the latest advancement in patient satisfaction” by Michigan Medicine, it is a system of primary care aimed entirely at servicing the rich and upper middle class. The foundation of Victors Care is that it grants easier and faster access to physicians, as well as comprehensive preventive care, for those who can afford to pay an additional $3,600 per year out of pocket.
On its web site, the program lists benefits such as 24-hour telephone access to a primary care physician, ability to meet…