Contract Nurses, Mayo Clinic Divided on Success of Epic Training

(ABC 6 News) — Mayo Clinic is now four days into using the new Epic Software system we’ve been telling you about. We’ve heard the ups and we’ve heard the downs. Now we’re talking to Mayo one on one to see how things are going internally.

But there are a few who have expressed concerns about the work that is being done by outside contracted companies.

“We’re pleased it’s going quite well and better than we had thought going into last Saturday,” said Dr. Steve Peters, co-chair of the Plummer Project, who met with ABC 6 News at Mayo’s 41st Street Professional Building on Tuesday.

“This is our core command center where the teams are located based on the modules and the type of practice they are engaged in,” Dr. Peters said. “Over the past month, we had training in this building of about 26,000 people. That’s a big logistical task to take people out of the practice and out of their work whether it’s an office or nurse or physician and get them here for a few hours of classroom training.”

According to Dr. Peters, this conversion is the biggest single implementation epic has ever done all at once.

“This does not occur without some sort of anxiety and discomfort with many new workflows and many things to learn. The staff has worked hard. They may be fatigued, we’ve gone through a long weekend, and the moral, I would say, in the past couple of days has been remarkably good,” said Peters.

Because of all the training that is needed for this project, extra nurses were hired by third-party contractors to assist Mayo staff with the transition. Last week those nurses were brought in for an orientation with a company called HCI Global, which was contracted by Epic to help with the training. But it wasn’t long before we started to hear some concerns.

“Many of us have come at a lesser rate because we’re so excited to be here to work for a world-renowned health care system. This is a great opportunity for us. But since we’ve been in orientation, with HCI, we have been verbally abused, we have been intimidated, we have been threatened that we would lose our job, not on a daily basis, but almost a nearly hourly basis,” explained a contracted nurse who asked us not to name her. She is one of several who claims she was fired for speaking up about her concerns.

“I’m very concerned that I am going to appear as a disgruntled employee. The reason that I’m here is because our nurses have been violated,” she said.

We received dozens of messages, several nurses expressing concern, worried about pay, not getting the hours they were promised, and verbal abuse.

HCI Group Chief of Staff Stephen Tokarz responded to our call saying he was concerned about these accusations and is working to get to the bottom of what was really happening during these training sessions.

We also asked if Mayo knew about any of these concerns. “I don’t have any comment on that. We have implementation partners and contract groups and we’ve been happy with them,” Dr. Peters said.

For at least one more month, Mayo Clinic employees will continue to make sure this transition is smooth sailing.

We want to emphasize, these complaints are not coming from Mayo or Epic employees, but from contracted employees.

Next Monday, May 14 at 10 P.M., join us for the final part of our series on Mayo’s Epic Transition.
We will explain what this entire process has been like for the city of Rochester, economically.