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Clarification about State Doctor Salary Memo

August 14, 2017

UAPD has received questions from CDCR and CCHCS doctors regarding a recent memorandum that was distributed to employees. The memorandum was titled “Excluded and Exempt Salary Increases for Fiscal Year 17-18.”
 
The 2017 pay increases described in that memorandum do not apply to doctors in BU 16 (aka UAPD-represented doctors).  Per the UAPD’s Memorandum of Understanding with the State, the 2017 pay increase for BU 16 doctors is 3%, and it went into effect on July 1st.  You can review this summary of the economic agreements in the current MOU; the entire MOU will be circulated once Cal-HR finishes preparing the document.
 
The “Excluded and Exempt” memorandum you received describes the 2017 salary increases for those who supervise doctors working in BU 16.  Managers (M16) and Supervisors (S16) of BU 16 doctors will receive a 2% increase this year. 
 

Update on Coleman Lawsuit

August 14, 2017

As part of our ongoing collaboration, UAPD President Stuart Bussey and staff held a call with Coleman plaintiffs’ attorneys last week. The attorneys were able to present a compelling case that CDCR is not providing adequate mental health care, based in part on evidence collected by UAPD. According to the attorneys, while Federal District Judge Kimberly Mueller is committed to improving mental health care in CDCR, there is no specific time frame for further court action. That is disappointing, but both the actions of the Court and the timeline for them are fully under the discretion of Judge Mueller.

UAPD and the plaintiffs’ attorneys know that raising psychiatrists’ salaries is a necessary step toward improving mental health care inside the prisons. UAPD will continue to monitor the progress of this case and contribute where we can.

Important Victory in Case against Contractors

August 9, 2017

Yesterday, UAPD-represented doctors working for Alameda Health Services (AHS) won a significant legal victory in our year-long campaign against contracting out.  While a judge had previously denied UAPD’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to immediately halt the transfer of psychiatrist jobs to outside contractor Traditions Behavioral Health (TBH), yesterday Judge Michael Markman issued a motion to compel AHS to participate in binding arbitration with UAPD over the issue.  The text of the Judge’s ruling can be read here.

The arbitrator will determine if by hiring high-cost contractors, AHS violated a law that went into effect with the passage of AB 1008 in 2013.  Co-sponsored by UAPD and AHS, AB 1008 strictly limited the ability of AHS to contract out the work of its union doctors.  It stated:
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California’s Climate Change: Single-Payer

June 7, 2017

By Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD, UAPD President

Two seemingly unconnected events last Thursday remind us that we live in a progressive, independent-minded state. First, the California Senate passed SB 562 (Lara/D), the Healthy California single-payer bill. This bill purports to solve our state’s health care access problem, which has been partially relieved by the ACA and is now threatened by the new AHCA bill. The California Assembly is preparing for the weighty debate on how exactly to pay for SB 562’s universal coverage. Cost estimates range from $330 billion/year (UMass study) to $400 billion/year (legislative analysis). These figures are comparable to the 2016 estimate of California’s health care cost of $370 billion. Much of this money would be available as repurposed Medicare and Medi-Cal money — and the Feds would have to agree. The State, under Healthy California, would take on the role of single insurer. The plan would be governed by a nine member board of experts who would authorize payments to hospitals, doctors, ancillaries and pharmaceutical firms in a hybridized and collectively bargained fee-for-service paradigm. The collective bargaining part of the bill could elevate UAPD as a preeminent representative of many of California’s providers. Physicians probably would be working at discounted rates of reimbursements, but they would at least be paid promptly and by one entity (the State). They would not have to play tiresome reimbursement and authorization games with dozens of profit-motivated insurance companies. Doctors should spend less time billing and more time with their patients.
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UAPD Files Charges Against State Hospitals

May 10, 2017

Several months ago, Napa State Hospital management distributed a memorandum to the medical staff stating that they had decided to utilize the Personal Duress Alarm System (PDAS) as the primary method to contact physicians, because management had determined that the hospital’s pager system was unreliable. UAPD was staunchly opposed to this new policy.

After Psych Tech Donna Gross was murdered by a patient on NSH grounds in 2010, enormous efforts went towards winning a host of safety improvements at the State hospitals.  That work continues to the present. The PDAS is a state-of-the-art system chosen, developed, and continuously refined with employee input.  At no time did the state legislature, Cal-OSHA, Coalition unions, or the DSH contemplate any use for PDAS except as a personal alarm. And, as PDAS’s sole purpose is to alert all staff in the vicinity of an emergency request for help due to attack, the system has the potential to save lives. Diverting its use for any other purpose undermines the system’s effectiveness. Nevertheless, recognizing that the hospital’s current pager system indeed is not reliable, the UAPD agreed to meet with DSH in order to negotiate implementation of the new policy.
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