California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)


Resources

Clarification about State Doctor Salary Memo

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

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

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

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”

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

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.
Read more …

State Has Done Little To Fix Doc Shortage at Prisons

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.