July 13, 2016
Oakland — By a vote of 38 to 2, psychiatrists at John George Psychiatric Hospital demanded that
the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Joe Walker, M.D., be removed from that position.
The doctors are no longer willing to tolerate a Chair who fails to treat patients, who is far
removed from the workings of his Department, and who in his role as an interim chief medical
officer has awarded financially reckless contracts. A contract negotiated by Dr. Walker with
Traditions Behavioral Health would pay $264 per hour for psychiatrist services, 50% more than
what it costs to have John George employees continue to do the work. John George doctors took
the unprecedented step of voting no on Dr. Walker’s leadership because his continued missteps
will waste resources and jeopardize patient care.
“We think that Alameda County residents should know what’s going on at John George
Psychiatric Hospital,” said Milton Lorig, M.D., a psychiatrist who worked at the facility for
decades. “Dr. Walker wants to spend a lot of money on a plan that will also compromise patient
“We’ve never had a group of psychiatrists take a poll on their leadership and vote no so
overwhelming,” said Stuart Bussey, M.D., President of the Union of American Physicians and
Dentists, which represents the doctors. “We’re hoping that stakeholders in the community, and
that means both taxpayers and those who rely on the mental health system in Alameda County,
will take notice.”
John George Psychiatric Hospital, located in Oakland, is part of the Alameda Health System.
The hospital treats the acutely mentally-ill in both an in-patient and outpatient setting. The
hospital’s psychiatric emergency department provides services on a 24-7 basis to those facing a
mental health crisis.
July 11, 2016
UAPD has submitted a request for bargaining in Santa Cruz County and has begun the process of selecting a negotiating team. This year’s bargaining will likely be contentious, as the doctors plan to push the County to do more to resolve its critical doctor shortage.
In the coming weeks, UAPD will also hold a meet and confer with management over their plan to create evening hours in the Emeline clinic. While there is now a volunteer interested in filling evening hours, the union’s concern is what will happen if no volunteers exist. There will also be a second Labor Management meeting about Avatar, the new EHR system on the mental-health side. At the last meeting, doctors listed dozens of problems with the system, and will soon assess how much progress has been made on resolving them.
July 11, 2016
On Friday, July 1st, Psychiatrists at Alameda Health Services overwhelmingly expressed their desire to remove Dr. Joe Walker as Chair of their Department. Over the past two months, Dr. Walker has misused his position to make a deal with Traditions Behavioral Health (TBH) to contract out psychiatrists’ positions in a questionable deal. The doctors’ petition to remove Dr. Walker revolves around their belief that he has not fulfilled his obligations as Chair in the following areas:
1. Dr. Walker made a deal with TBH while serving as interim Chief Medical Officer – a clear conflict of interest!
2. He is an absentee Chair who is never seen in PES except to announce to the doctors that they will be fired from their jobs and replaced by TBH.
3. He has personally intimidated countless employee psychiatrists in the past weeks and has a history of threatening physicians during one-on-one meetings.
4. He fails to respond to doctors’ emails, even when it involves urgent clinical matters.
5. There is an active MEC investigation against Dr. Walker.
On Monday, July 11th, UAPD Doctors and SEIU Nurses attended the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ Health Sub-committee to voice our concerns about patient care at JGPP.
July 2, 2016
All University of California student health center doctors represented by UAPD received a 3% raise effective Friday, July 1st. This marks the third salary increase in the UAPD contract, totaling a minimum of 10%, and significantly more for doctors at five campuses who were previously below negotiated minimum salaries or who received equity adjustments.
UAPD members will recall that the contract also provided for retroactive lump sum payments. All of the campuses issued the lump sum payments by November 2015, and earlier this year, UAPD began a careful review of each campuses’ calculations. The Union found a structural error in most payroll departments’ methodologies, whereby doctors were not paid for two months of the first retroactive period. UAPD has been working with the Office of the President since that time to ensure that the missing amounts are issued and all doctors receive the full retroactive payments they are due.
As a result, some campuses are issuing corrective payments now and the others will follow soon thereafter. UAPD will send another announcement when the final correct amounts are documented so that any member unsure of their retroactive payment can verify it with the Union.
May 20, 2016
UAPD met with AHS two days ago in a meet and confer over TBH’s efforts to staff a “triage psychiatrist” position in PES. AHS is claiming that recruitment has been unsuccessful over the past three months and that not enough SAN psychiatrists are interested in taking regular employment from the current employee pool. UAPD made several recommendations to AHS to recruit psychiatrists as an alternative to contracting out to TBH. For example, we asked that AHS advertise psychiatrists’ salaries online and in all of its outside advertisements. Interestingly, AHS has a policy of not advertising salaries for any of its vacant positions because it believes that applicants “interested in working for AHS for the high salaries are not employees we want to hire here.” Of course, this is ludicrous! All public employers advertise salaries for open positions. Furthermore, it is no secret that physicians’ salaries must be competitive with the market in order to recruit and retain them. AHS’ argument is a poor attempt at hiding its intentional obstruction of recruiting and retaining UAPD jobs.
Although UAPD doubts that AHS will present the union proposals to the Board of Trustees, more meeting are scheduled. Anticipating no movement from AHS, UAPD is prepared to move quickly to arbitration on this issue and will also file an unfair labor practice charge against AHS for meeting in bad faith with the Union.
May 11, 2016
Due to the strength and unity of UAPD NEVHC members, the midterm bargaining team won the establishment of a new salary scale for providers. The comprehensive grid incorporates substantial salary increases for all UAPD members at NEVHC, ranging from 9% to 23% cumulatively.
The UAPD team worked hard on this, meeting regularly, often weekly, with management for the past several months on behalf of all members. This tremendous achievement was accomplished by a diverse group of members working together, as a team, on unpaid time outside of their clinic hours. This group of remarkable providers is committed to ensuring just and fair working conditions and compensation, while equally committed to always providing the best, safest patient care.
This historic achievement is remarkable not only because it represents an unprecedented mid-contract salary increase for every classification, but because it establishes a salary scale for the first time at NEVHC. The salary scale is based on years of clinical experience.
April 17, 2016
In the 2015 round of contract negotiations, San Francisco Department of Public Health physicians identified additional time off as a top priority. The UAPD bargaining team eventually prevailed in changing the contract from CTO “may be granted” to CTO “shall be granted” for work falling within established guidelines. With members’ input, those guidelines were agreed to last September.
In late February, several part-time physicians contacted the Union after being denied the compensatory time they had requested. They were told that not only must a physician work in excess of their regular work schedule, they must also work over eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week in order to get CTO hours at the 1.5x rate. Thus, part-time doctors would almost never be eligible for CTO.
UAPD engaged DPH and DHR in discussions at that time. In April a conceptual agreement was reached and, earlier this week, the new CTO request form was agreed to (download it here). DPH Payroll has been notified that part-time physicians who work in excess of their normal work schedule, due to conditions falling within the established guidelines, will receive CTO at the 1.5x rate even if they have not worked more than eight hours that day or 40 hours that week.
The UAPD bargaining team fought hard to win the new CTO provisions, but feedback so far indicates that most doctors are not utilizing it. We encourage our hard-working members, both full- and part-time, to take advantage of this important benefit!
March 29, 2016
On July 1, San Francisco Dentists, Assistant Medical Examiners and Veterinarians received a 3.25% salary increase based on the Consumer Price Index for the Bay Area. Two more take-home pay changes affected all doctors in the unit. These changes are pursuant to cost-sharing measures found in San Francisco Proposition C, which was passed by the voters in November 2011.
First, Prop C created a new employee pension contribution percentage that floats above the baseline according to the City’s required contribution (the latter being determined by law in order to keep the pension adequately funded). Based on SFERS’s actuarial projections, the City’s required contribution in fiscal year 2016-2017 will decrease, resulting in a 1% decrease in the required employee contribution for the upcoming fiscal year.
Prop C also set contribution requirements for the Retiree Health Care Trust Fund, which was created to ensure adequate funding for current and future SF retirees’ healthcare premiums. Employees who were hired on or after January 10, 2009 have been contributing 2% of salary to the Fund, while the City has been contributing 1%. Starting July 1, employees hired on or before January 9, 2009 will begin contributing 0.25% of salary to the Fund. Those employees’ contributions will increase by 0.25% in each of the following three fiscal years, until reaching the maximum of 1% effective July 1, 2019. The City’s contribution rates will mirror those of employees hired on or before January 9, 2009.
Employees having questions related to their pensions are encouraged to contact SFERS directly. Those having questions related to current or retiree health provisions should contact the San Francisco Health Service System.
March 24, 2016
UAPD is in the process of resolving the SAN Psychiatrist wage adjustment dispute with Alameda Health System. UAPD contends that each and every Psychiatry SAN classification (Psychiatrist I; Psychiatrist II, non Board Certified; Psychiatrist II, Board Certified; and the 1900-0700 flat rate shift) should receive the previously advertised wage adjustment of approximately 5.7% (148/140) going back to 6/21/15.
UAPD further contends that there should be NO change in the manner in which evening shift differentials, night shift differentials, and overnight 1900-0700 shifts have historically been paid. UAPD maintains that retroactivity checks should be 5.7% of wages earned from 6/21/15 through when the wage adjustment is properly implemented
February 24, 2016
The market wage adjustments and retro pay to last June 2015 will appear on Friday’s paycheck! All Ambulatory docs will receive a 4% increase to base wages, and all full-time and part-time psychiatrists will receive a 10% wage increase retroactive to June 21, 2015. SAN psychiatrists will receive a 6% increase to hourly rate retro to June 21, 2015. UAPD is currently meeting with AHS over the bonuses for Ambulatory Care Doctors. We should have an agreement soon.