Community Medical regains control of payroll software; nurses still want a third-party audit

By: - January 25, 2022 2:12 pm

Community Medical Center pictured on January 17, 2021.

A Missoula medical center said it now has access to all the payroll information that was held captive by a ransomware hack, but stopped short of identifying  when 257 nurses will see missing pay from December and January.

In a statement to the Daily Montanan on Monday night, Megan Condra, Community Medical Center’s Director of Marketing and Community Relations, said the for-profit healthcare organization has been given full access to its system and is working on making whole the nurses’ paychecks going back to Dec. 11, 2021. Their software vendor, Kronos, was the victim of a ransomware attack that affected thousands of organizations needing to issue paychecks.

“We are pleased to have access once again to our timekeeping platform and are very appreciative of our team who has worked around the clock to do everything we can to address these unfortunate challenges beyond our control,” Condra said in the statement.

The Montana Nurses Association, however, has been pushing the administration to shore up the payroll system sooner, asking for owed wages they say could amount to more than $100,000 collectively.

On Monday, the nurses gave Community Medical until Wednesday at 1 p.m., to agree to a third-party audit because they said the accounting and timekeeping contained so many errors on some of the checks that were received by nurses. The nurses say that only an independent, third-party auditor can go through the payroll records to ensure nurses are paid properly.

The statements released by Community Medical did not address whether the organization was open to a third-party audit or when the payroll accounting would be completed.

The Montana Nurses Association has hired Missoula Attorney Nate McConnell and Great Falls attorney Raph Graybill for representation in this matter, and in a letter the lawyers said they’ve prepared court filings to get the nurses their back wages.

Montana Nursing Association chief executive Vicky Byrd had previously told the Daily Montanan that many of the nurses who were shorted pay worked overtime and extra shifts to help take care of patients sick with COVID-19. Many are faced with paying bills without full compensation, she said.

On Monday, the nursing association also said not all nurses had received supplementary checks, and many of the checks contained errors of overpayment, underpayment or transposed amounts.

“As a result, the nurses have lost faith in CMC’s ability to conduct accurate payroll moving forward and an accurate reconciliation process over the last two months,” Byrd said. “A third-party auditor is essential to sort through the CMC created the last two months.”

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming. With Darrell at the helm, the Gazette staff took Montana’s top newspaper award six times in seven years. Darrell's books include writing the historical chapters of “Billings Memories” Volumes I-III, and “It Happened in Minnesota.” He has taught journalism at Winona State University and Montana State University-Billings, and has served on the student publications board of the University of Wyoming.

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