A strike by physicians at University of California Student Health has raised big issues. A key demand by the doctors, who provide primary-care and mental-health services, was to obtain more financial information from the system to use in negotiations. Finances of health institutions remain famously opaque, as does the matter of what really is meant by “nonprofit” when applied to institutions with very high executive salaries.
The doctors joined the Union of American Physicians and Dentists in November 2013.
They were also upset by demands that they pay more into their pensions, and they feel that the system is making them rush through their patients to increase volume.
Healthcare Renewal, run by Roy Poses, M.D., says it’s the first time in 25 years in which fully licensed physicians have picketed a U.S, employer.
As more and more doctors give up private practices and become institutional employees, we can probably expect more strikes.
And U.S. physicians, as the most highly paid in the world, might use union membership to fight efforts to substantially reduce their pay and other perks, though such reductions seems inevitable given government and other payers’ pressures to control our healthcare system’s costs in the face of the “Silver Tsunami” and other pressures.