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UAPD Pulse: Looking Back and Ahead… UAPD 2018

December 26, 2017

By Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD, UAPD President
 

We can all agree that 2017 was a memorable year-both outside and inside of our union. Donald Trump was sworn in as our 45th president and has used an executive style from his TV show “The Apprentice”. This year global warming became all too real.   Drought, fire and hurricanes spread around the world. Senseless mass shootings continued. Sexual harassment cases abounded.  But…there were also bright spots in 2017.  Unemployment reached an all time low and our economy is booming. Scientific and technology breakthroughs surprise us daily.  A high school senior in Texas bought his special needs classmates new shoes.   A customer in Washington left a $3000 tip for his $39 dinner.  A 5 year old from Mississippi called 911 to arrest the Grinch.  An ophthalmologist in Michigan carried his elderly patient through the snow to his office. The human spirit continues to amaze.

2017 also saw lots of changes and successes at UAPD. In February, after 35 bargaining sessions, UAPD reached an agreement with the State of California and ratified a new MOU.  While the general salary increases were moderate, we scored significant pensionable salary adjustments for hundreds of our members.  This was due in no small part to the strike ratification vote we took in January.  There were many other developments in the state sector which UAPD met with skill and tenacity—“lift and shift” of our DSH psychiatrists to CDCR, telehealth policy changes, ensuring laptops are optional on call, creating research to support the legal case for higher physician salaries, protecting Medical Consultant scope of practice, fighting timekeeping and retaliation issues, and, of course, member grievances.  We also fought against gender discrimination at CSU, contracting out and bullying at our UC clinics.

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Governor Brown Signs UAPD Bill Stopping Contractors

September 28, 2017

Governor Brown has signed AB 1538 into law. The bill is a follow-up to AB 1008, which was signed in 2013 to protect our bargaining unit in Alameda County. AB 1538 reaffirms that UAPD is the exclusive bargaining representative of Alameda County physicians irrespective of when a physician joins the bargaining unit.  Thank you all for the work doctors and staff put into getting the bill passed.  Read more about the bill here.

 

Register Now – UAPD Annual Meeting and Free CME

August 29, 2017

The UAPD Annual Meeting and Free CME will be held on Saturday, October 28th at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott (5855 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles) (MAP).  All UAPD members are invited to attend. 

For each of the events listed below, you can register online here.  Most UAPD members are responsible for their own transportation and hotel costs to attend the meetings.  UAPD will provide members with passes to cover parking at the hotel. 
 

Saturday, October 28

  • 1 pm to 2  pm – UAPD Annual Meeting.  UAPD President Dr. Stuart Bussey will lead a meeting of all UAPD members.  Find out what’s going on in every sector of UAPD.
  • 2 pm to 4 pm – Washington, State of California, County, CSU/UC, Retiree, and Private Practice Breakout Sessions.  Meet with other UAPD members and staff from your own sector to discuss common issues.
Read more about: Featured, Member Benefits

Clarification about State Doctor Salary Memo

August 14, 2017

UAPD has received questions from CDCR and CCHCS doctors regarding a recent memorandum that was distributed to employees. The memorandum was titled “Excluded and Exempt Salary Increases for Fiscal Year 17-18.”
 
The 2017 pay increases described in that memorandum do not apply to doctors in BU 16 (aka UAPD-represented doctors).  Per the UAPD’s Memorandum of Understanding with the State, the 2017 pay increase for BU 16 doctors is 3%, and it went into effect on July 1st.  You can review this summary of the economic agreements in the current MOU; the entire MOU will be circulated once Cal-HR finishes preparing the document.
 
The “Excluded and Exempt” memorandum you received describes the 2017 salary increases for those who supervise doctors working in BU 16.  Managers (M16) and Supervisors (S16) of BU 16 doctors will receive a 2% increase this year. 
 

Update on Coleman Lawsuit

August 14, 2017

As part of our ongoing collaboration, UAPD President Stuart Bussey and staff held a call with Coleman plaintiffs’ attorneys last week. The attorneys were able to present a compelling case that CDCR is not providing adequate mental health care, based in part on evidence collected by UAPD. According to the attorneys, while Federal District Judge Kimberly Mueller is committed to improving mental health care in CDCR, there is no specific time frame for further court action. That is disappointing, but both the actions of the Court and the timeline for them are fully under the discretion of Judge Mueller.

UAPD and the plaintiffs’ attorneys know that raising psychiatrists’ salaries is a necessary step toward improving mental health care inside the prisons. UAPD will continue to monitor the progress of this case and contribute where we can.

Important Victory in Case against Contractors

August 9, 2017

Yesterday, UAPD-represented doctors working for Alameda Health Services (AHS) won a significant legal victory in our year-long campaign against contracting out.  While a judge had previously denied UAPD’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to immediately halt the transfer of psychiatrist jobs to outside contractor Traditions Behavioral Health (TBH), yesterday Judge Michael Markman issued a motion to compel AHS to participate in binding arbitration with UAPD over the issue.  The text of the Judge’s ruling can be read here.

The arbitrator will determine if by hiring high-cost contractors, AHS violated a law that went into effect with the passage of AB 1008 in 2013.  Co-sponsored by UAPD and AHS, AB 1008 strictly limited the ability of AHS to contract out the work of its union doctors.  It stated:
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California’s Climate Change: Single-Payer

June 7, 2017

By Stuart A. Bussey, MD, JD, UAPD President

Two seemingly unconnected events last Thursday remind us that we live in a progressive, independent-minded state. First, the California Senate passed SB 562 (Lara/D), the Healthy California single-payer bill. This bill purports to solve our state’s health care access problem, which has been partially relieved by the ACA and is now threatened by the new AHCA bill. The California Assembly is preparing for the weighty debate on how exactly to pay for SB 562’s universal coverage. Cost estimates range from $330 billion/year (UMass study) to $400 billion/year (legislative analysis). These figures are comparable to the 2016 estimate of California’s health care cost of $370 billion. Much of this money would be available as repurposed Medicare and Medi-Cal money — and the Feds would have to agree. The State, under Healthy California, would take on the role of single insurer. The plan would be governed by a nine member board of experts who would authorize payments to hospitals, doctors, ancillaries and pharmaceutical firms in a hybridized and collectively bargained fee-for-service paradigm. The collective bargaining part of the bill could elevate UAPD as a preeminent representative of many of California’s providers. Physicians probably would be working at discounted rates of reimbursements, but they would at least be paid promptly and by one entity (the State). They would not have to play tiresome reimbursement and authorization games with dozens of profit-motivated insurance companies. Doctors should spend less time billing and more time with their patients.
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UAPD Files Charges Against State Hospitals

May 10, 2017

Several months ago, Napa State Hospital management distributed a memorandum to the medical staff stating that they had decided to utilize the Personal Duress Alarm System (PDAS) as the primary method to contact physicians, because management had determined that the hospital’s pager system was unreliable. UAPD was staunchly opposed to this new policy.

After Psych Tech Donna Gross was murdered by a patient on NSH grounds in 2010, enormous efforts went towards winning a host of safety improvements at the State hospitals.  That work continues to the present. The PDAS is a state-of-the-art system chosen, developed, and continuously refined with employee input.  At no time did the state legislature, Cal-OSHA, Coalition unions, or the DSH contemplate any use for PDAS except as a personal alarm. And, as PDAS’s sole purpose is to alert all staff in the vicinity of an emergency request for help due to attack, the system has the potential to save lives. Diverting its use for any other purpose undermines the system’s effectiveness. Nevertheless, recognizing that the hospital’s current pager system indeed is not reliable, the UAPD agreed to meet with DSH in order to negotiate implementation of the new policy.
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CSU Bargaining Off to Good Start

May 10, 2017

Last week UAPD and CSU starting formal bargaining over terms and conditions of employment for our members in Unit 1.  UAPD and the bargaining team are optimistic about this round of bargaining.  After a State audit revealed unnecessary spending, and news articles publicized cuts in student services at the same time as the student fees were raised at some campuses, CSU has come into bargaining with an understanding that change is needed.

CSU is taking a proactive approach in addressing the issues around recruitment and retention.  They have been meeting with the UAPD Bargaining Team for the past year to establish new classifications, which will allow campuses to hire needed employees at a more competitive salary.  UAPD and CSU have tentatively agreed to two new classifications and some revisions to the original physician classification.  The team is still negotiating the salary ranges for each classification, as well as the implementation and the reclassification of the current unit members.   UAPD will communicate that information with the membership as soon as it becomes finalized.  
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Ending the CDCR Psychiatrist Staffing Crisis

May 3, 2017

Rosen, Bien, Galvan and Grunfeld, LLP is a legal firm that represents the plaintiffs in Coleman v Brown, which addresses mental health care in California prisons.  The original judge in the case ordered that a Special Master be appointed to monitor compliance with the court orders to improve care.  The current Special Master is Matthew A. Lopes, Jr..

In recent weeks, UAPD has been working closely with Michael Bien and others at the firm.  Together we are trying to persuade the Special Master and the Court that there is a severe psychiatrist shortage within CDCR, and that the State is doing too little to correct it.  UAPD has provided the attorneys with data and physician testimony that they will share with the Court (with names redacted).  You can download a copy of the letter provided by UAPD to the attorneys here.   UAPD will update members on the progress of the case.

If you would like to provide further information that UAPD will share with the Plaintiffs’ Attorneys, you can do that here:  CDCR PSYCHIATRIST STAFFING ISSUES