Labor and management partnerships are improving patient care and controlling costs, according to an upcoming report by the ILR School's Healthcare Transformation Project.

The report profiles work involving front-line staff, unions and management at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont, Kaiser Permanente's San Rafael and San Diego medical centers in California and the Contact Center at Montefiore Medical Center's Care Management Corp. in New York City.

Advances documented in the report, "How Labor-Management Partnerships Improve Patient Care, Control Costs and Labor Relations," include:

  • improved turnaround time for test results;
  • increased awareness about workplace safety;
  • higher patient satisfaction scores;
  • quicker access to home care services; and
  • less staff turnover.

"Reforming our health care system to be accessible and providing high-quality services have been at the core of national and state initiatives," said Peter Lazes, director of the Healthcare Transformation Project, based in ILR's Manhattan office.

"The union-management partnerships cited in our report provide evidence that these activities, when well structured, improve patient care and reduce costs," he said. "These activities, encouraged by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' Partnership for Patients initiative to improve care and lower costs for Americans, are, in fact, making a difference."

The report will post Feb. 15 at the HealthCare Transformation Project's website.

Mary Catt is assistant director of communications at the ILR School.