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We Are Heroes In Harm’s Way

For the past few weeks, we have experienced the intersection of panic, uncertainty, and bureaucratic indifference. The coronavirus has exposed a country slow on the trigger and unprepared to deal with a public health crisis. The bureaucrats and administrators who “manage” our health care institutions are scurrying to put on a good face and reassure those who are on the front lines that help is on the way. They need you to stay on the job so they can keep theirs.

Their propaganda can go only so far when a person’s health and survival are on the line. UAPD has received anecdotal reports that some of our members have been asked to see routine or non-emergent patients, and often, they are not provided with adequate PPE to protect them. Would you ask a soldier to go into combat without proper gear? Or a fireman? Social distancing, triage principles, and even the published policies of our state and county health officials are at odds with what supervisors are telling our members. They have promised to maximize telehealth opportunities. They have promised to screen all patients. If you feel that you are being placed in a dangerous position with sick patients and/or inadequate PPE, UAPD wants to know about this. Please use the attached forms below to document these cases and email them to us at uapd.com. Your decision to be in harm’s way with a patient should be based on both ethics and logic. Your professional judgment and the Hippocratic phrase “Do no harm” also refers to YOU, the healer. If you are not well, the patient and the system will not be well. If you are sick, test positive, elderly or have someone at home who is compromised, you should not be at work. Use your sick leave, FMLA, or ask for ATO. If you are asked to participate in care that is dangerous to you or the patient, complete the Corona Incident Report or the DDO, “Directive Despite Objection” and send it to UAPD. We will use this evidence to try to force a change in policy

Another way to have a voice in the “Corona era” would be to form a Corona policy committee in your institution to address telework, screening, and PPE, etc. These task forces should be composed of half administrators, half rank and file doctors and providers. A petition form will be on the website in a few days. Please sign it and return it.

Next Monday, March 30 is National Doctors’ Day. UAPD wants to tell the world about the heroes that work to help and heal in these days of crisis— whether those patients are in our counties, state prisons and hospitals or those who work in the private sector. Please nominate or tell us about yourself or a colleague that has gone the extra mile to help our patients. We will contact them this week to be part of a live press conference next Monday to make the public aware of what you do for them and what they should do for you. Please send us these nominations ASAP via email or to me at sabussey@aol.com. Meanwhile, if you have questions, please call your union representative for help.

Thank you. Stay Safe, Work Smart!

Stuart Bussey, MD, JD
UAPD President

A Letter From Ralph Diaz Re: COVID-19

Click the first page below to see the full document

An Important Message for All UAPD Members Regarding COVID-19

Covid-19 is causing major changes to the way that we go about our lives and work as health care professionals. Social distancing and telework can be difficult to achieve, depending upon your particular workplace. Here are some general work guidelines for UAPD workers, distilled from individual departments, organizations, and government edicts.
 
Employees at Highest Risk
 
As the disease progresses, morbidity and mortality of various age groups will become clearer. What is currently accepted is that people over 65 and those with chronic conditions are highest risk for poorer outcomes. If you are in this category, you can request all viable options for flexible scheduling and telework. You can request leaves of all types if your position is not conducive to working from home. Paid administrative leave (ATO) should be requested if you have no leave balances and face hardship due to illness, caring for sick family members or children whose schools have closed. Employees subject to quarantine or self-monitoring should ask for telework or ATO. Those who test positive for COVID-19 should expect leave credits of all types 14 days after the quarantine begins. They may also be eligible for FMLA. Most paid ATO is at least 14 business days in duration. 
 

These general policies vary by specific department, organization, and state. As previously mentioned they are subject to change. Listed below are some of your rights and suggestions to protect yourself:
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