Alameda County currently has over a 50% vacancy rate among Physician llls and is spending $190 per hour on locum tenens to provide some coverage. Last fiscal year alone, the County spent $1.55 million dollars on locum coverage. To explain the vacancy rate, the UAPD bargaining team presented management with comparisons between doctor salaries in Alameda County and elsewhere in the Bay Area. Alameda County is at the bottom of the list when recent salary increases in San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Kaiser are taken into account. In fact, Alameda County is about 15%-20% below the market when compared to those employers.
However, the County still presented doctors with an economic proposal that does not go far enough to fix the recruitment problem. The County has proposed no retroactivity, and pay increases that average out to a mere 1.5% per year since 2010. This is despite the fact doctors have been working twice as hard to keep up with the demands that the ACA and the economic recession have put on County health care services.
Alameda is willing to spend money on locums that cost twice as much as employed physicians, who only provide a band-aid for a seriously wounded Behavioral and Public Health care systems. It makes no sense. Alameda County doctors are now considering ways to respond the County’s inadequate offer.