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Ohio State Nurses Union Airs Grievances On New Billboard

A billboard from the Ohio Nurses Association outlines the bonuses paid to the top two leaders at the Wexner Medical Center.
Ohio State University Nurses Organization
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A billboard from the Ohio Nurses Association outlines the bonuses paid to the top two leaders at the Wexner Medical Center.

Nurses at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are taking their pay and work grievances to a billboard alongside state Route 315 near Olentangy River Road.

The president of the Ohio State University Nurses Organization, Rick Lucas said nurses are fed up with large executive bonuses at the Wexner Medical Center. He said some of the money could be better spent on patient care.

“We’re working incredibly short right now,”’ Lucas said. "We've been asking the hospital for months to take meaningful steps to address recruitment and retention and we haven't seen the hospital act on those efforts in a way that is satisfactory for staff."

OSUNO bought the billboard starting August 2. It cost over $1,500. It lists the bonus of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center CEO Harold L. Paz at $788,000 and retired COO David McQuaid at $284,437.

“Bonus compensation is a bit of a gut punch for health care workers after what we've been through for this last year and a half,” Lucas said.

Nurses received up to a $300 bonus, the same amount given in other years, he said. They could also earn $125 overtime pay for four additional hours worked in a day.

Lucas said about 500 nurses have left the hospital since November 2020. Some have moved to other nursing organizations, but some are seeking new opportunities outside of nursing.

"We're bleeding staff,” says Lucas. “The last year has been very traumatizing, and just like any trauma you have to stop the bleeding to survive, and we need OSU to invest in meaningful recruitment and retention efforts."

In an emailed response, Marti Leitch, director of media relations with the OSU Wexner Medical Center, writes the billboard is inaccurate and that the hospital spent $11.7 million last fiscal year in staff bonuses, pandemic leave pay for staff who had to quarantine or fell ill, and preservation pay for staff who could not work due to the pandemic.

She also writes that a “small number of leaders and faculty have an at-risk component to their total compensation that is only paid if they meet pre-determined metrics.”

Corrected: August 10, 2021 at 10:02 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story indicated that the current Wexner Medical Center COO Jay Anderson received a $284,437 bonus. The bonus was actually paid to the hospital's previous COO, David McQuaid, who recently retired.