Hospital Chain Lifts Its Minimum Wage for Nearly 11,000 Employees

Ascension Health, which owns a chain of medical facilities across the country, has announced plans to raise its minimum wage to $11 an hour, nearly four dollars over the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The change, which will take effect in July, will raise the wages of 10,500 people. The Tennessean looked at the impact at one major hospital in Tennessee, Saint Thomas Health.

At that hospital, 521 people will see wage increases – in a state that  leads the country in minimum wage jobs (7.4 percent of Tennessee workers work at or below the minimum wage, 117,000 workers in all).

The paper interviewed one CEO of a hospital about the logic behind the wage hike, and he explained that the operations of the entire hospital depend on paying the workers more money:

After the snow and ice storms this winter, Randy Davis, CEO and president of NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, said the hospital was pinched when the environmental and food service employees were unable to make it to work because, in many cases, they didn't have cars.

"All of a sudden your hospital is brought to its knees by not having the minimum wage staff," Davis told The Tennessean following the last ice storm in early March.

“Our Mission is to advocate for a compassionate and just society, and the first principle of a just society is the common use of goods, which individuals access primarily through wages,” said Anthony R. Tersigni, Ascension's CEO. “We believe our associates deserve a socially just wage that acknowledges the dignity of the human person and the spiritual significance of the care they provide every day to those we serve and to their fellow associates.”


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