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State Bargaining Update 8/8/16

August 8, 2016

As we go further along in the bargaining process, the State is bringing forward more information to address the workplace concerns we’ve raised at the table. For instance, we had further discussion of the lack of appropriate break areas, especially within CDCR. The State said redesigned CDCR facilities would incorporate break rooms for doctors’ work areas. In a separate discussion, DSS management clarified that the rules that restrict the number of people on leave at the same time were being misinterpreted in some branches. They agreed to educate managers about the fact that more than 25% of doctors in a branch can be on leave simultaneously. Read more …

Santa Cruz Bargaining Begins

August 5, 2016

The contract between the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) and Santa Cruz County expires on November 11th.  Bargaining for the next contract began on Friday. Dr. Sanford and Dr. Yazgan will serve on the UAPD bargaining team, alongside labor representatives Albert Munoz and Sue Wilson.  During Friday’s session, the parties scheduled five future sessions and agreed to ground rules for negotiations.  Drs. Sanford and Yazgan provided an overview of the problem the County is having with the recruitment and retention of doctors. 

Our next bargaining date is scheduled for August 30th, and we will send an update afterward.

Press Release: AHS Psychiatrists Denounce Department Chair Over Wasteful Contract

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
care.”

“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.

Santa Cruz County Prepares for Negotiations

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.

AHS Psychiatrists Support Ousting Dr. Walker!

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.

UAPD Pursues Salary Corrections at UC

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.

Bargaining Update 7/1/16

July 1, 2016

On Thursday, June 30, UAPD met with the State.  UAPD started the day with a proposal on Hours of Work, clarifying that working an average of 40 hours per week over a 12 month period means that some weeks should be shorter than 40 hours to offset those which are longer.  We also clarified that the prohibition on “timekeeping devices” in our contract extends to methods where the stated purpose is something other than timekeeping.  This includes things like personal duress alarm systems, identification badge swipe systems, sign-in sheets, and the like – none of these should be used to track a doctor’s time at work.  UAPD also proposed that doctors be held responsible only for reasonable objectives in the workplace.  An example of an unreasonable objective is CCHCS  holding individual physicians responsible for meeting their facility’s overall, court-ordered objectives for patient visits, when short staffing means the work is divided between too few doctors.
Read more …

AFSCME Convention

June 24, 2016

The following UAPD members were elected to serve as delegates at the AFSCME 42nd International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, which starts on July 18, 2016. The theme of this year’s convention is “Never Quit”.

Nandan Bhatt, M.D.         
Department of Developmental Services

Mubashir Farooqi, M.D.            
Department of State Hospitals

Dennis K. Lin, M.D.                
Department of State Hospitals

L. Lee Nelson, M.D.                
Los Angeles Department of Health Services

Shakalpi R. Pendurkar, DDS., MPH    
Gardner Health Services

Alice To, Pharm.D.                
Los Angeles County

In accordance with the UAPD constitution and bylaws, UAPD President Stuart A. Bussey, M.D., J.D., is automatically included as one of UAPD’s seven delegates.  

Thank you to the UAPD members who voted in this election and the eight nominees for their effort and enthusiasm on behalf of the Union.  Congratulations to our elected delegates.

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Bargaining Update 6/24/16

June 24, 2016

Below is a summary of topics covered during the last few weeks of bargaining.  As always, there is a limit to how many issues we can address in each session. Please contact your labor representative if you have questions about an issue not yet covered.

Fixing the PEPRA Pension Cap
 
As of today, more than 20% of UAPD members are “new hires” under PEPRA and subject to the cap on pensionable salary.  That percentage will grow every year as more new hires come into the system.  When these doctors retire, their pension will be based on a maximum of $117,020 (adjusted for inflation each year), rather than their actual salary.  By our calculations, that constitutes a 45% loss of pension income for “PEPRA” members as compared to “Classic” members who are not subject to the pension cap. 

UAPD has met with legislators to urge them to introduce legislation remove the cap, but so far none have shown willingness to take the lead on the issue.  Therefore, UAPD has been looking for an alternative method to address the problem.  On June 23rd,  UAPD proposed that the State take the employer contribution on salary above the cap that, pre-PEPRA, would have gone to CalPERS, and put that money into defined contribution pension plans for PEPRA employees.  For more details, click here to read the text of UAPD’s presentation to the State.  UAPD strongly believes successful recruitment and retention requires a good pension, and that means doing something like this to offset the losses that came from the PEPRA pension cap. Read more …

Bargaining Update 6/1/16

June 1, 2016

Four members came to bargaining today to discuss the lack of parity between Physician Surgeons from the Department of State Hospitals and those doing the same work within the Department of Corrections. The presenters were Hossein Akhavan, MD (Atascadero), Dr. Ali Akhavan, M.D. (Napa), Dr. Teneese Nguyen (Metropolitan), and Dr. Stephanie Nguyen (Patton). UAPD followed the presentation with a proposal that DSH Physician and Surgeons receive a pay increase to bring them to 95% of what CDCR pays for the same position. Read more …