Nurses' strike leads to Cerner go-live delay at Massachusetts hospital

Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, will pause the implementation of its Cerner go-live in light of ongoing nurses’ strikes.  

A memo sent to staff members from CEO Carolyn Jackson in late June said that necessary build and training activities would be “challenging to conduct under current circumstances.”  

“Despite having 200 Saint Vincent Hospital employed nurses now caring for patients, we cannot move forward with the go-live when there is no end in sight for the strike,” wrote Jackson in the memo, which was shared with Healthcare IT News.  

The go-live will also be delayed at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Jackson said.  

The Massachusetts Nursing Association did not respond to requests for comment by press time.  


The nurses’ strike began in early March, with employees raising concerns over staffing and excessive patient assignments, among other issues.

Since then, Saint Vincent management and the union have batted a number of proposals back and forth, aimed at coming to a mutual agreement.

Most recently, a group of 17 striking nurses traveled to the Dallas-based headquarters of Tenet Healthcare, which owns Saint Vincent. There, according to local reporting, the group presented a petition signed by more than 700 nurses asking the company to respond to their calls for increased staffing.

On Tuesday, the hospital sent its fourth offer to the union in as many weeks through a federal mediator. According to a press release, the proposal “specifically accepts enhanced nurse staffing proposals by the MNA on four units and provides meaningful compromises on seven additional units.”

The parties will meet on Friday to discuss the proposal – their first time doing so since COVID-19 began.

As far as the EHR rollout is concerned, Jackson’s memo called the delay “the right decision for our healthcare team and our community, as we all deserve a smooth transition from MediTech to Cerner when it ultimately happens.

“We anticipate the new go-live date to be sometime in early 2022, but we do not have an exact date yet,” she continued.

Cerner representatives did not respond to requests for comment by press time.  


The COVID-19 pandemic presented a range of challenges for EHR rollouts, although collective action is a rather uncommon one.  

Cerner launched its first-ever “virtual go-live” at a rural hospital this past May, with the team able to successfully adjust the typically physical process to a digital environment.

But other, larger projects have not gone as smoothly. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently halted its Cerner EHR modernization project after an initial go-live was met with consternation.

The agency announced this past week that it would be sticking with Cerner for the program following a review.  


“This is a comprehensive, good-faith effort to address the MNA’s counterproposal,” said Jackson in a comment accompanying the hospital’s latest proposal. “The MNA should be pleased with the movement we have made.  

“We remain ready to discuss the proposal in person this week, and invite those members of the bargaining committee who are not traveling to Dallas, and want to make progress towards a new contract to engage in dialog with us,” she added.


Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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