UAPD is watching the situation closely and will meet and confer with the State over the issue. In preparation, we ask doctors to use the following survey to share your thoughts and concerns with us.
For several years UAPD members and staff have been working to improve employee and patient safety at the Department of State Hospitals (DSH). Alongside other unions representing DSH workers, UAPD has been promoting legislation aimed at curbing violence and assaults inside DSH. Several of those bills were passed into law this year. This is a major victory, and a significant step forward in our campaign to curb violence against doctors and other medical professionals. It’s also an example of what can be accomplished when doctors, the UAPD and AFSCME legislative departments, and our professional staff work together as we have done here.
UAPD continues to push for safety enhancements at all of the Department of State Hospital (DSH) facilities. Patton State Hospital recently launched a comprehensive personal alarm system similar to the one installed at Napa State Hospital in 2012. In addition, a UAPD-backed bill to require the hospitals to create enhanced treatment units with higher security for the most violent patients is currently being considered by the State legislature. Safety is a key concern of UAPD members at DSH. The latest issue of “Governing” notes that state workers in nursing and health care facilities have the highest workers compensation injury rates in America — 13.1 injuries per 100 employees per year. That is higher than police officers or fire fighters.
One of the challenges unions face in trying to prevent the misuse of private contractors by the State of California is the fact that departments often sign new contracts before the union is made aware of the fact. A new bill that was signed into law by the Governor, AB 906, fixes that problem, as it requires departments to notify the relevant unions before they sign a new contract for personal services. The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who is a member of UAPD, and supported by both UAPD and AFSCME. This was one of two UAPD-backed bills to address the problem of private contracting during the last legislative session, both of which were signed into law. The other contractor bill was AB 1008, which prevented Alameda Health Services (AHS) from outsourcing work now done by UAPD-represented physicians (see p. 3).