January Update for Los Angeles County Bargaining Unit 324 – Physicians

On Wednesday, December 1, 2010 Bargaining Unit 324 union stewards, bargaining team members and worksite leaders met with representatives from the LA County Department of Health Services (DHS) Employee Relations.  The Union and Employee Relations discussed the DHS restructuring initiative and the plan for ambulatory care reform.  The Union team questioned the County’s many contracts with outside physicians, and especially the county code provision that allows outside physician contracts to be used “whenever feasible.”  UAPD and the county set up a plan for regular monthly labor-management meetings moving forward.

On Thursday, December 16, 2010, UAPD members and staff met with Interim Health Services Director John Schunhoff, Ph.D. and his staff.  Dr. Schunhoff talked about the challenges the County faces with health care reform, the County’s plan to deal with these issues, and the impact of reform on several County departments.  The Union questioned him about funding, reimbursement, the existing patient loads, staff shortages, and the possibility that many of our County patients would likely not participate in the “medical home” model laid out by the law.  Dr. Schunhoff has committed to holding a meeting with UAPD and his permanent replacement, Dr. Mitchell Katz, within the next few weeks.

The UAPD team also met with Ann Marinovich, DHS Human Resources Administrator, and discussed the need for on-going labor-management meetings.  Other issues raised with Ms. Marinovich included the lack of promotion opportunity for doctors and our union’s request for a cost-offset for this year’s health insurance premium (to compensate for losing the match for the first half of 2011).