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New Agreement for San Francisco County Doctors

June 9, 2015
The UAPD contract ratification vote for the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) concluded on Friday, May 29th.  95% of union members casting ballots voted to ratify the new three-year Agreement between UAPD and the City and County of San Francisco. A summary of the new Agreement is here.

It is expected that the Board of Supervisors will hold their second and final vote to ratify our contract later this month.

Special note regarding the new compensatory time off (CTO) provision:  CTO will be capped at 160 hours, with a maximum of 120 hours allowed to be carried over to the following fiscal year (i.e., every July 1). CTO cannot be cashed-out, in contrast with vacation leave which can be cashed-out at any time, including upon separation from City employment. Therefore, UAPD members should always use CTO for time off before tapping vacation leave.

Gardner Providers Approve Contract

June 9, 2015

On Thursday, May 28th UAPD Gardner Family Health Network members overwhelmingly ratified the agreement reached between the union and GFHN.  Later that evening, the GFHN Board of Trustees also approved it, so it will be in effect until June 30, 2018.

A summary of the agreement has been mailed to members.  UAPD reminds its members to use or rollover additional continuing education funds before the end of the calendar year.

LA County Doctors Support Department Integration

May 27, 2015

UAPD-represented doctors in the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Sheriff’s Department medical services are in support of a new plan to unite the departments into a single agency.   Integration will give doctors the tools they need to improve patient care, including a single electronic health record system.  Providing comprehensive health care at a single point of entry is not only better for the patients, it is cost-effective.   Integration will save money by avoiding the duplication of services that happens when people are passed between multiple departments for their health care, for example.  A single, well-managed agency can help the County meet the challenges of running a large health care system.  Los Angles doctors have been impressed by the progress that Dr. Mitch Katz has made at DHS, and hope that he will be able to continue this work as the head of the new agency.

Read UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey’s thoughts on department integration in the Union Pulse.

 

Los Angeles County Pharmacists Join UAPD

May 27, 2015

With all the votes counted, 202 Los Angeles County pharmacists have voted in favor of joining UAPD, with just 17 voting for the Guild, and 1 voting for No Representation.  That is more than 90% of the votes in favor of the new union.  Based on these ERCOM, the labor board for Los Angeles, will recognize UAPD as the new union representative at its next meeting on June 22nd.

The determination, unity, and hard work demonstrated by pharmacists throughout this campaign has been striking.  Pharmacist leaders collected signed union cards from a majority of their colleagues by May of last year, but their union election was delayed for several months because a political dispute in Los Angeles left ERCOM out of commission.  UAPD worked with our allies in Los Angeles to help settle that dispute and get ERCOM back on track, so that the pharmacists could move forward with the process of joining UAPD.

The strength of this group will be put to good use in the coming months, when they negotiate the first UAPD contract with Los Angeles County.   UAPD staff and elected leaders in Los Angeles have begun working with pharmacists on the contract campaign.

 

Alameda Health Service Doctors Ratify Contract

May 22, 2015

The new Agreement between UAPD and AHS was overwhelmingly ratified by the members.  The vote drew the largest membership participation in the past 15 years.

Under the new Agreement, dentists and psychiatrists will benefit from across the board pay increases with retroactivity in year one. Market surveys will be conducted by AHS for wage reopeners in years two and three, and salary adjustments will be made if necessary.   Additionally, psychiatrists will participate in a two-part incentive pay program that the doctors helped design.  Details of that bonus plan have been sent to AHS members.  In a newly formed committee, AHS managers will meet with doctors as often as monthly to discuss and remedy issues that could affect productivity, quality, and patient satisfaction in the clinics.  Both educational leave and stipend were increased under the agreement.

The Urge to Merge

April 16, 2015

Los Angeles County has officially published a proposal to integrate its three main health care agencies–the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Mental  Health (DMH) and the Department of Public Health (DPH).  Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas has also added the Sheriff’s Department to this merger. A sixty (60) day feedback period involving the many stakeholders, including UAPD, has begun. It is incumbent upon our LA County doctors to be informed and to have a frank and open discussion about this plan before our union responds with an official opinion.

First, a bit of history. Many decades ago the departments all operated as a single entity. For various reasons the Board of Supervisors (BOS) separated the three main functions into the three current departments. Now, because of evolving changes in health care delivery and reimbursement, the County feels it is prudent to again operate as a single unified health agency. Better services and programs would be available to County residents, bureaucratic barriers would be dissolved, operations streamlined and finances optimized by the sharing of capital and expenses.

From our members’ perspective there are some obvious advantages to the merger. First, the UAPD has had a good working relationship with DHS. DHS would address the problems of the other departments regarding physicians being supervised by non-physicians  (custody, nurses, social workers who often hear grievances and make medical decisions). Also, DHS has been the only department in favor of manpower shortage pay increases.

However, some concerns about the integration were raised at a recent Town Hall meeting at Harbor/UCLA hospital. As expressed by one of our doctors –“adding another layer of bureaucracy could be asking for trouble.” The consultant to the CEO present at the meeting answered that no budgets or staff would be cut or redirected after the merger. But one only has to look at the Prison Receivership as an example of bureaucracy gone wild. There have been ever increasing numbers of new administrative positions created—CMO, CME, etc. The potential for undue oversight on our members must be considered. We made it clear at the meeting that UAPD must be afforded regular input if and when the integration goes forward. We also discussed how the performance of the merger might be assessed. Some form of evidence, survey and/ or metric must be developed to measure patient and provider access and satisfaction, provider productivity and reimbursement. These should be made available to the public at regular intervals. Finally, always having an MD at the helm of his new agency should be made a priority. Over the next 60 days we will be having meetings at LAC facilities to solicit your ideas and input; the next meeting is at Olive View Medical Center, CD-R Room, Wednesday 4/22, 11:30 am – 1 pm. I look forward to talking with you there.

AHS Doctors Authorized to Strike

April 1, 2015

The UAPD Board has approved a request by Alameda Healthcare Services (AHS) doctors to go on strike against their employer.  During the strike authorization vote among UAPD members at AHS, 98% of them voted in favor of a strike.  AHS doctors will be meeting soon to plan details of a strike.  Meeting information has been sent to AHS members.

Doctors are angry that AHS managers have been negotiating in bad faith for months, and are trying to tie pay to unfair measures aimed at cutting patient time with doctors.  AHS insists that its employed doctors meet the standards of private hospital doctors, while providing the doctors with neither the infrastructure nor the support to provide the most efficient patient care.  Rather than squeeze its current staff, AHS must do more to recruit and retain enough doctors to see patients in a timely manner.

LA County Doctors Discuss Department Merger

March 30, 2015

Los Angeles County Supervisors are considering a plan to merge the county’s public health department and its mental health agency with the Department of Health Services, which now runs county hospitals and clinics.  How will UAPD members fit into the plan?  How could these changes affect doctor jobs?  UAPD is holding a series of townhall meetings to discuss these issue with doctors.  In these townhalls, UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey has been joined by representatives from the County’s Office of Health Care Integation, which is tasked with crafting the proposal for the health agency model.  A meeting was held at Harbor UCLA on March 18th.  The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 22nd at 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Olive View Medical Center in the Doctors Conference Room (Cafeteria).  At Olive View Dr. Bussey will be joined by Christina R. Ghaly, M.D. (Director of Health Care Integration) and Carol Meyer, BSN, MPA (Community Outreach Coordinator).

“Manpower Shortage” Increases Go Into Effect

February 1, 2015

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, doctors have been in high demand.  During the last round of negotiations, UAPD argued strenuously that the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) was underpaying many of its doctors, making recruitment and retention difficult.  As a result of these conversations, the County recently agreed to increase the salaries for DHS Family Practice and Internal Medicine doctors using the County’s Manpower Shortage provisions. This is great news all-around.

Specifically, all DHS Family Practice and Internal Medicine doctors not yet at Step 10 in the salary schedule will be moved to Step 10, retroactive back to January 1, 2015.  In addition, all Family Practice and Internal Medicine doctors will receive a 10% increase.  The DHS Human Resources department mailed letters to individuals who will be receiving the raise.

Difficult Negotiatons with AHS

December 22, 2014

Alameda Health Systems’ persistent failure to be prepared for bargaining sessions shows disrespect to the UAPD membership and the bargaining process.  Bargaining has been cancelled four times due to lack of preparation on the part of AHS.

In addition, AHS has failed to provide vital information necessary for the Union to prepare and respond to proposals.  Only recently did the team finally receive a comprehensive wage proposal from AHS.  That wage proposal is so complicated and fragmented, that even the AHS team had trouble explaining it.

Click here to read an important bargaining update from the UAPD Bargaining Team at Alameda Health System (AHS), which gives details of the substandard offer from AHS.

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