More than 25 Santa Clara County doctors attended the UAPD membership meeting on April 26th to discuss next steps in the contract campaign. UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey, Executive Director Al Groh, Communications Director Sue Wilson, and Chief Negotiator Jeff Duritz attended the meeting to offer guidance and support.
The federally-funded electronic health record (EHR) incentive program continues to be a central bargaining issue, and a good portion of the membership meeting was spent discussing how these funds work and how they relate to the current bargaining. UAPD presented the national legal consensus regarding EHR incentive payments — that the funds belong to providers, not their employers, and that the employers must negotiate if they want to influence how those funds are assigned. One of the county’s own legal consultants has written in support of the union’s position in an article asserting that: “In both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, assignment must be voluntary and may be made only to one entity. In other words, EPs are not required to assign their incentive payments to the hospital, even if the hospital provides them with EHR technology.” A majority of doctors in the bargaining unit have already signed onto a petition informing the county that they will not agree to reassign their EHR money until the issue has been settled in bargaining.
The next bargaining date is currently being scheduled, and members will receive another update as soon as the date is known.