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San Mateo Reopener Results in Wage Increase

November 17, 2016

As previously reported, UAPD successfully negotiated a salary reopener one year into the current contract. The results of that survey found that San Mateo County Psychiatrists had fallen below the market average for the Bay Area. As a result, your salaries have been adjusted retroactively to July 3, 2016 (the first full pay period of the current fiscal year). You will see both your increase in salary and retroactive pay on the pay check issued December 9, 2016 for the following specialties:  

  • Adult Psychiatrist and Supervising Adult Psychiatrist – 9.1%
  • Child Psychiatrist and Supervising Child Psychiatrist- 9.9%

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.

New Santa Clara Contract Contains Large Raises

October 28, 2016

For the first time in over 15 years, Santa Clara doctors were able to ratify a successor agreement before the expiration of the previous contract.  The three year contract will increase base salaries for all UAPD specialties by 13% in the first year with an additional 19% increase for Acute Care Services & Juvenile Hall psychiatrists – a total of 32%! For the second and third years, salaries will increase by 3% each year.  The total wage increases are 19% to 38%! In addition, hourly rates for EPS, BAP, Urgent Care and Custody shifts were all raised significantly; new rates range from $161 – $225 per hour depending on shift.

Tuition reimbursement will be increased from $2800 to $4500 per fiscal year and can be rolled over, from year to year, for a total of $9000.  That’s an increase of more than 60% of the current benefit.

The agreement has been ratified by UAPD members, and the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors will vote to ratify this agreement soon

Strong Contract Settled in San Joaquin County

October 28, 2016

After several months of work, the UAPD Negotiating Committee has reached an agreement with San Joaquin County.  The team made several significan economic gains, particularly for those specialists who are difficult to recruit and retain.  In addition to annual 2% cost of living increases, doctors will receive between 3%-10% in market adjustments, increased tuition reimbursement, and a guaranteed $20,000 in board certification pay.  San Joaquin also becomes one of the first counties to contribute to a 401(a) plan for those doctors whose pensions have been capped by PEPRA.   Complete information and ballots have been sent to members for a ratification vote.

Tacoma Doctors Join UAPD

October 21, 2016

Tacoma – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will soon certify a new union for doctors working at Auburn Medical Center (AMC) in Tacoma, Washington.   At the vote count conducted on October 13 at the NLRB Region 19 offices in Seattle, a strong majority of the ballots cast by AMC doctors were in favor of the union.  The new union will include a range of specialists including hospitalists, pediatricians, surgeons, and OB/GYNs.

This is believed to be the first time a group of private sector doctors in Washington State have unionized.  Doctors in California have been union members for decades, but the trend is only now starting to spread to the Pacific Northwest.  Last year, a group of hospital doctors in Springfield, Oregon joined the union that represents other heath care workers at their facility.  The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which will represent Auburn Medical Center doctors, is speaking with other doctors in the region who are interested in forming unions of their own.  According to UAPD President Stuart Bussey, MD, “Doctors now realize that only by unionizing can they stand up to hospital administrations that focus on efficiency and cost-cutting at the expense of patient care.”

Reflecting on the vote, Dr. Bussey continued, “There’s obviously a good deal of solidarity among the physicians who work at Auburn.  Other physicians thinking about unionizing should feel encouraged by what they’ve been able to do. ”

Virginia Stowell, MD, a surgeon at the nearby Tacoma General Hospital, was pleased to hear the news from AMC. “We were watching the election closely, and we are thrilled with the results.  We will continue to organize more physicians and fight for physician-directed care in Washington.”

After the election results are certified on Thursday, AMC doctors will begin preparations for their first negotiations with their employer, MultiCare Health System.  MultiCare, which purchased AMC in 2012, owns and operates five hospitals and multiple clinics in the Tacoma area.

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