NewsLocal News


Unions concerned St. James Hospital losing surgeons, staff after leadership change

Posted at 6:41 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 16:03:39-05

BUTTE - Some unions have expressed concern about what they claim is an alarming loss of staff at St. James Hospital in Butte and are petitioning Intermountain Health, which oversees the Butte hospital, to do a better job retaining professional staff.

“Currently there is a fairly significant exodus of healthcare providers at St. James Hospital, especially in surgical services,” said Robin Haux, the labor program director for the Montana Nurses Association.

The Montana Nurses Association and Teamsters Local 2 are distributing a petition asking Intermountain Health to improve contracts so healthcare providers will stay. The union says St. James had about 10 surgeons and now only has four on staff.

“Our biggest concern is being able to maintain the services for the community and we also want to make sure we’re protecting the jobs of our nurse members,” said Haux.

The Butte hospital merged with Intermountain Health in 2022, and the union claims long-time providers refused their new contracts with Intermountain. The unions want Intermountain to stop the professional bleeding.

“To prioritize the retention of these vital healthcare providers and do everything they can to provide them with contracts and negotiate the provider contracts they’re willing to sign,” said Haux.

St. James Interim President Pam Palagi told KXLF that leadership and physician transitions are common in the healthcare industry, adding, “We are excited to welcome several new providers across various specialties to St. James and Intermountain Health in the coming months.”

This will include those who specialize in neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and general surgery.