California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)


Resources

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.

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

State Telemedicine Issues

April 15, 2017

When the telepsychiatry program was first launched by the Department of Corrections, psychiatrists were told that they would not have to cover On-call assignments. The Department then decided to start requiring them to cover on-call assignments. The Department changed telepsychiatry working conditions without noticing the UAPD.   The UAPD met with the Department to discuss a proposed policy. CDCR has not updated the policy to reflect the agreed upon changes from the last meeting. Nonetheless, CDCR has added additional telepsychiatry sites without noticing the UAPD.  The UAPD has filed a Cease and Desist regarding implemented changes to the program without notice to the union.  There is new language in the State tentative agreement regarding teleprograms.

Multiple grievances have been filed on telemedicine issues at the prisons   When the telemedicine program was first launched by California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS), physicians were told that they would not have to cover on-call assignments. The department then decided to start requiring them to cover on-call assignments, without noticing the UAPD. A grievance was filed, and the Department responded by notifying the UAPD that they were initiating a telemedicine on-call pilot program. That program failed and the Department concluded that they will not be requiring telemedicine doctors to cover on-call assignments.  There is currently no language in the union contract regarding teleprograms. The UAPD has proposed language to address concerns.

State Doctors Weigh In on”Lift and Shift”

January 18, 2017
The Governor’s Proposed Budget for the fiscal year 2017-2018 contains language to have the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Correctional Health Care System assume responsibility for psychiatric programs now run under the auspices of the Department of State Hospitals (DSH-Salinas Valley, DSH-Stockton, and DSH-Vacaville).  The potential transfer is being called “lift and shift” for short.
 
Since the announcement of the “lift and shift”, DSH-Stockton has lost at several psychiatrists.   The department continues to notice the union as new details of the transfer become available.  The UAPD has sent a survey to impacted employees at both CDCR and DSH for feedback on the announcement. A Meet and Confer will be scheduled with both departments to discuss Bargaining Unit 16 (BU16) impact concerns.
 

Rights During an SEIU 1000 Strike

November 29, 2016

UAPD State-employed doctors have asked whether they have the right to strike alongside SEIU workers this coming Monday (aka sympathy strike).  The short answer is no, UAPD-represented doctors do not have the right to engage in a sympathy strike with another union at this time. 

UAPD-doctors who want to support their SEIU colleagues can join them on the picket lines on their own time (e.g. before or after work, or during vacation, CTO, annual leave).  You can read more about the SEIU strike plans here.
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State Has Done Little To Fix Doc Shortage at Prisons

November 3, 2016

Press Release (Oakland) — On Tuesday the State’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report that gave Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) a failing grade for the medical care it provides to inmates at the Soledad facility.  Fifteen years after a lawsuit in which a federal judge ruled that the health care given in California prisons constituted “cruel and unusual punishment,” the Inspector General found that SVSP still demonstrates “a profound inability to provide patients with adequate access to care.”

Much of the problem comes from an on-going shortage of physicians in California prisons.  According to the Inspector General’s report: “Of critical importance was SVSP’s shortage of providers and extreme difficulty with recruitment and retention of qualified physicians. This inadequate staffing at SVSP led to an institutional backlog of over 400 patients at the time of the onsite inspection, and contributed to the inadequate rating.”

Currently, there are four physicians working onsite at Salinas Valley State Prison, treating over 3800 prisoners.  The physician shortage is a pervasive problem affecting most of the 34 state adult prisons in California.

On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) spokesperson Joyce Hayhoe “agreed that the prison has a serious, ongoing doctor shortage and said officials are trying to hire doctors.”  However, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), which is now negotiating with the State on behalf of prison doctors, believes not enough is being done.  UAPD asserts that recruitment and retention is still a serious problem that is affecting patient care.

“The State can’t hire more doctors  because doctors can work elsewhere with better compensation and working conditions,” reported Dr. Stuart A. Bussey, president of UAPD.   “At the bargaining table we’ve made multiple proposals that would help with prison doctor recruitment, but the State has said no to every one of them.”

“These are not easy patients,” according to Dr. Fernando Tuvera, a physician at SVSP. “I am moved from unit to unit, treating people with injuries, Hepatitis C, end-stage liver disease, COPD, diabetes, and many other conditions.  We work long hours during the day, and the four of us have to divide up all the after-hours coverage too.  That means one week per month I’m working all day and all night.  We need more doctors here.”

The Union has also filed grievances at SVSP over the effects of inadequate staffing on the few remaining doctors, and proposed remedies that would help alleviate the strain.  Those grievances were denied by CCHCS.

EHR System in CDCR — Meet and Confers Ongoing

December 14, 2015

UAPD has met several times since the beginning of October with CDCR and CCHCS on the implementation of the Electronic Health Record System (EHRS) in that Department. So far the project has been piloted at the following facilities: Folsom State Prison, Folsom Women’s Facility, Central California Women’s Facility, California Institution for Women, and in some administrative sites. UAPD members have expressed concerns about many issues related to the EHRS: the mandatory use of a lap-top (meant to be taken home); the increasing burden of performing call and increasing work hours; inadequate compensation; large numbers of incorrect medication orders for patients; as well as other issues. A number of UAPD members have taken part in the Meet and Confer meetings to date: Dr. Gabriel Borges (FSP), Dr. Ronald Lewis (ISP), Dr. Vitalicia Romero (CCIW), Dr. G. Bedford (CIW), and Dr. J. Chapman (CIW).

UAPD will be passing proposals to CCHCS and CDCR that are meant to address the concerns of UAPD members as well as the quality of care being provided to inmates. UAPD will continue to keep you updated on developments in the meet and confer process and the roll-out of the EHRS pilot system at institutions across the state.

Sign-In Grievance at Mule Creek State Prison

December 9, 2015

UAPD has challenged management practices at Mule Creep State Prison. Specifically, UAPD is opposing MCSP’s directive that Bargaining Unit 16 employees sign-in and sign-out of work. MCSP already has an electronic key card ID system that makes a manual log-in unnecessary. Initially, MCSP management indicated that BU 16 employees should not only use a key card and sign-in/out of the facility manually, but also email supervisors upon arrival/departure to work and check-in face to face with supervisors. MCSP dropped the directives to email supervisors and have face to face check-ins after UAPD opposition, but still maintains a sign-in/out log. UAPD has elevated this grievance to the third level and will continue to fight MCSP management on this issue.

State Must Fix CalPERS Contribution Error

October 2, 2015

Some UAPD members who are subject to the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) notified the Union that the CalPERS employee contributions that are being deducted from their paychecks are too high.  It is quite likely that this problem affects more than the handful of doctors who noticed it on their paychecks.  UAPD has been investigating the problem and taking the first steps to resolve it.

Who is Involved?

Doctors who joined CalPERS for the first time after January 1, 2013 (and were not eligible for reciprocity with another California public employer) are subject to changes made by PEPRA.  For just these employees, pensionable salaries are capped at $117,020 (for those participating in Social Security) or $140,424 (for those not covered by Social Security).  Employees who fall under PEPRA may be paying too much in CalPERS contributions.
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