Thirteen registered nurses, represented by their union, sued Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, in an attempt to block the planned closing of the birthing center at Group Health's flagship, 125-bed Eastside Hospital, Redmond, Wash. The suit was filed in King County Superior Court, Seattle. The nurses said they fear the birthing center's closure is a preliminary move to shutting down the entire hospital. Their union, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, has speculated the system wants to sell the hospital's 15-acre property to neighboring Microsoft Corp. Group Health, an integrated system and 600,000-member HMO, announced the birthing center's closure earlier this month, citing staffing shortages and declining birth rates, and said it would make a decision about the hospital's future by year-end. The system has laid off about 120 people this year as part of a move to reduce its budget by $30 million. -- by Laura B. Benko
Nurses fight Group Health's birthing center closure
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