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UAPD Demands That Santa Clara County Cease and Desist

February 13, 2014

On February 12th, UAPD represented physicians were ordered to provide night, weekend, and holiday coverage at EPS, BAP, and Custody Services without prior notice to the Union.  UAPD immediately sent the following communication from our attorney to County counsel asking for immediate rescission of those work directives:

UAPD formally demand[s] the County rescind a unilateral change last night of mandating psychiatrists take night shift work starting this Saturday. Last night’s directive was issued without prior notice and bargaining with UAPD and therefore under MMBA needs to be rescinded and the matter negotiated with UAPD first… The County has known of its problem with night shifts and Emcare for many months, and has not dealt seriously with a UAPD proposal many weeks ago for a night premium which would encourage doctors to take these shifts (because it would be closer to the rate prevailing in the Bay Area), and thus any emergency here is of the County’s own creation.

The County’s directive is creating an unsafe situation creating risks for all patients and staff in the area.  Accordingly it seems to me the doctors legally might be entitled to refuse to take such unsafe assignments, though obviously no one wants to escalate the dispute here to that level. The County’s representatives should contact Patricia Hernandez at UAPD directly for the purpose of negotiations.”


Santa Clara County Bargaining Update

February 12, 2014

Yesterday, UAPD met with the County to continue negotiations over a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  In typical form, the County has shown little interest in quickly reaching an agreement with the Union.  So far, the County has proposed a one year contract with a dismal 0.5% increase in exchange for “structural changes” of decreasing the employee paid employer’s contribution toward PERS. Meanwhile, the County has agreed to two year terms for all other unions with a 2% wage increase in the first year and a 3% wage increase in the second year.

UAPD has made several proposals,  such as a realignment of P49 to P55 salary scale; Sabbatical Leave; Additional Pay for Additional Work; and 100% Annual Leave cash-out.  The County has rejected all of them!  While UAPD holds the line on these proposals, we are preparing wage and market adjustment proposals which will be presented to the County in the next meeting.  Please be sure to forward any salary comparisons within the County limits of Santa Clara for your specialty to

While our members continue to overextend themselves in maintaining the highest quality patient care amidst the challenges and frustrations of EHR and increased workloads, the County’s responses merely emphasizes its interest in maintaining bureaucratic delays instead of working with UAPD to find fair and equitable solutions to ongoing issues that affect our members.

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UAPD and UC Meet Over UCI Hours

January 27, 2014

On January 9th, UAPD was notified by UCI administrators that they planned to extend hours at the Student Health Center.  UAPD Labor Representative Jake Baxter met with a group of UCI doctors to prepare a response, and then, along with one of the UCI doctors, met with management on January 22nd to conduct a “meet and confer” over the issue.  Once a union is in place, the employer cannot change working conditions without conducting such a meeting with all impacted unions.

At the meet and confer, the following agreements were made:
  • It was agreed that the program is needed and is beneficial to the students, and that the program would start January 22, 2014, staffed by doctors who volunteered to do so.
  • UCI administration will provide UAPD with a proposal regarding the duties and responsibilities of doctors during the extended hours pilot.
  • It is the intent of UC to provide an incentive payment to participating physicians from the start of the pilot.  UC will make a proposal regarding the incentive payment amount that the physicians shall receive.  It was agreed that UAPD and UCI will meet and confer again over the incentive payment proposal.
  • Both parties agreed to meet and confer until the issue is resolved.

UAPD will update UCI doctors as the meet and confer process continues.

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The Countdown Continues

December 26, 2013

For those of you who attended our “Countdown to Obamacare” CME in October, many thanks for your valuable time and participation. Thanks go as well to our UAPD Staff and Boards for their efforts. Meanwhile, the countdown continues…

Like other ambitious programs of social change —Social Security, Medicare, etc. — we are seeing fits and starts, political blowback and Monday morning quarterbacking with the rollout of Obamacare. The initial ACA reforms—coverage of preexisting conditions, extended coverage of young adults, no caps on benefits—have been laudable.  But it should be no surprise to anyone that the insurance industry is in no hurry to bail out President Obama from his now infamous and erroneous statement, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” Because of the stringent requirements of the ACA, millions have had their plans cancelled and many will lose their doctors who have been excluded from networks. Yet the ultimate good in this law is worth the myriad of corrective “cleanup” bills that are being proposed in state and federal legislatures.

At the CME our speakers addressed the effects of the ACA rollout on doctors in general and our union in particular. Dr. Beth Capell described the need for our state prisons to coordinate health care for inmates about to be paroled. Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, spoke of the need for County and other public health systems to compete with the private sector for the flood of new patients.  Dr. Ron Zodkevitch discussed the positive aspects of increased access for the mentally ill, but also  the diagnosis categories the ACA doesn’t cover. Dr. James Stephens, the California Dental Association President, described the innovation of the virtual dental home, while Congressman and UAPD member Dr. Ami Bera offered alternative solutions to the provider shortage.

For UAPD the doctor shortage will become increasingly important for all of our sectors. If potential or current state and county doctors are lured into private employment, there will be pressure to fill these public job slots with ancillary providers. Despite the glitches in the federal website, new patients are signing up; the California insurance exchange “Covered California” had 360,000 applications as of November 19th, including 80,000 who have selected private health plans. With at least a dozen plans vying for these patients, and MediCal reimbursement at parity with Medicare, the Kaisers, Sutters and other ACOs of the world will pay a high premium for energetic primary care providers.

Meanwhile, UAPD must continue to collaborate with other doctor groups to create solutions for this shortage and keep us at the forefront of healthcare delivery. We need to increase the supply of physicians and dentists and correct their geographic maldistribution with creative incentives. I would appreciate your help in coming up with ideas for the upcoming legislative session. Feel free to contact me or the staff. Until then, thanks for your work and loyalty and have a great holiday season.

UAPD Forms New Union at the University of California

November 21, 2013

Today the University of California (UC) formally recognized the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) as the exclusive bargaining representative of doctors working in the student health centers on all ten UC campuses.  This marks the successful completion of an organizing campaign that began in December 2012, when a handful of doctors on a few campuses started talking to UAPD and their colleagues about the merits of forming a union.  Less than a year later, they are officially union doctors and part of the UAPD family.

The process of gathering union authorization cards from a majority of student health center doctors actually finished back in April.  For the seven months, UC attorneys did everything in their power to postpone recognition of this new union, but in the end reason and justice prevailed.  Now that student health center doctors are represented by a union, negotiations for their first contract can begin.  UAPD will immediately begin scheduling bargaining dates with UC.

This is UAPD’s second organizing victory this fall.  In Southern California, providers at the To Help Everyone (T.H.E.) Health and Wellness Center also voted in favor of forming a union with UAPD.  In addition to representing public sector doctors, UAPD has begun organizing non-profit health clinics in recent years.

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Another Non-Profit Clinic Unionizes with UAPD

November 20, 2013

Providers at the To Help Everyone (T.H.E.) Health and Wellness Center in Los Angeles voted unanimously to unionize with UAPD in October.  Soon T.H.E. providers will begin discussing their bargaining priorities and entering into negotiations for a first contract with their employer.  They hope to find the same success at the bargaining table that providers at Northeast Valley Health Corporation did; the new NEVHC contract included improvements ranging from binding arbitration for grievances to a 19.25% raise for all providers.  In addition to representing public sector doctors, UAPD has begun representing providers at non-profit clinics around California, many of which are changing drastically with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Providers interested in learning more about the benefits of unionization can contact UAPD here.

UC Tries to Delay Unionization

September 12, 2013

In mid-July, UAPD staff members, attorneys, and President Dr. Stuart Bussey had two informal settlement conferences with UC representatives and the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to determine how membership in the new doctor’s union will be defined.  Resolving this issue is the final step to forming the new doctors union at UC.  This week, PERB opted to cancel a third meeting when UC said it would not have decision makers available on that day.  We have made it clear that UAPD is willing to negotiate over this issue, but only when UC has decision-making authorities present.  In the interest of moving the process forward, UAPD has asked PERB to schedule a formal hearing so that an administrative law judge can make a final determination on which doctors will be included in the new union.  We will update you when the hearing is scheduled.

UC has been delaying the process unnecessarily by disputing who can be included in the new union. UAPD is confident that legal precedent is on our side.  Our intention is to settle the issues as soon as possible so we can begin the important work of bargaining a first contract for doctors.

At UAPD’s request, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has scheduled a hearing regarding the objections that the University of California (UC) has raised about who may be included in the new doctors’ union.  The hearing dates are October 30 and 31.

UAPD is confident that legal precedent is on our side, and we look forward to making our case in front of PERB.  Our intention is to settle the issues as soon as possible so we can begin the important work of bargaining a first contract for doctors.

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Parameters for Union Membership in Dispute

July 10, 2013

UAPD staff members, attorneys, and President Dr. Stuart Bussey met with University of California (UC) representatives at the Oakland office of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) on Wednesday.  PERB had called an informal settlement conference for both parties to discuss how membership in the new doctor’s union at UC will be defined.

UC clarified that they are disputing UAPD’s efforts to include doctors who work only a few days per month in the new union.  UAPD believes that the law is on our side when we claim that these doctors should be included in our union.   At Wednesday’s meeting we presented several legal precedents that support our position.  The UC attorneys responded by saying they need time to discuss our proposal with representatives from all ten campuses.  We have scheduled a follow-up meeting to hear their response.

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Trial Lawyers Launch Campaign to Remove MICRA Caps

June 5, 2013

Consumer Attorneys of California, representing trial lawyers, paid $6,635 to install the billboard. It is part of a coalition committed to spending $1 million in pushing to eliminate the $250,000 cap, said Eric Bailey, spokesman for trial lawyers…

Lisa Maas, executive director of Californians Allied for Patient Protection, countered that the cap on pain-and-suffering was enacted for good reason – to curtail out-of-control medical costs…

CAPP, the coalition supporting MICRA, contends that patients receive fair compensation. Only non-economic damages — pain and suffering — are capped, not lost wages, punitive damages, or past and future medical cost, the group notes.”  — From the Fresno Bee

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UAPD Stands Up to Kaiser Rate Increases

May 16, 2013

The regular meeting of the San Francisco Health Service System (HSS) Board turned contentious as City employees and residents demanded that Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (Kaiser) offer HSS a rate reduction for the 2014 coverage year.  HSS staff offered a PowerPoint presentation showing that City employees’ benefit utilization has declined in recent years, yet Kaiser’s fees have continued to escalate steeply. An earlier proposal by Kaiser was rejected by the HSS Board in April. City employee unions will argue strongly for a rejection of Kaiser’s current proposal.

LA Times:  City of San Francisco, worker unions protest Kaiser premium hike

Read Press Release (PDF)