Menu

What is preventing physicians from unionizing?

Home Practice Management What is preventing physicians from unionizing?

  • Avatar Steven Podnos MD CFP 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Financial Advisor
    Posts: 175
    Joined: 09/21/2017

    Back in my practice days, a group of us approached the teamsters union (this was in 1988!) and became members.  The union petitioned the Dept of Labor and was turned down on antitrust issues (the above linked article is excellent on this topic).  So independent physicians and groups cannot unionize.

     

    Employed physicians can indeed unionize.  Here is one such organization: https://www.uapd.com/.

    But an impediment to unionization is that in many states, the employer can fire physicians who are attempting to unionize at will without excuse until at least 30% of the medical staff notifies that they are examining unionization (this is information supplied to me by the union above).  So the early organizers in some states are risking their employment.  All in all, a tough issue.

    #228331 Reply
    The White Coat Investor The White Coat Investor 
    Keymaster
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 4604
    Joined: 05/13/2011

    There are physicians unions. The most prominent is in New York.

    Site/Forum Owner, Emergency Physician, Blogger, and author of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor's Guide to Personal Finance and Investing
    Helping Those Who Wear The White Coat Get A "Fair Shake" on Wall Street since 2011

    #228351 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 3337
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    Probably comes down to an individual physicians cost/benefit views.

    Is it worth it for the “non-essential” things?

    There seems to be little disagreement about “treating patients”, its the add on’s that appear to some as uncompensated and arbitrary. Without having those clearly identified, no physician consensus is available.

    Who is in the “union” and who do is the “company representative”?

    Lack of identified issues and identified opponents makes the dream of negotiations just a dream.

    #228352 Reply
    Liked by Anne
    Avatar Anne 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1237
    Joined: 11/07/2017

    When I was in med school a group of surgeons at several hospitals in a neighboring state went on strike.  They all took simultaneous leave.  I think one guy stayed for true emergencies, all the elective cases got cancelled, some urgent cases got diverted to us.  It was something over malpractice premiums–they were pressuring the state legislature.  I don’t remember how long it lasted or if it worked.  But it was a relatively homogenous group over a very specific issue.  There are so many issues to tackle, and everyone has their own opinions about which are most important, even within one specialty, where would we start?

    I think from an administrator’s point of view, things like answering all portal questions regardless of medical utility, making sure patients feel satisfied, and making sure the insurance companies have all the info they need directly from us so nobody else needs to be paid to do the trivial data mining, are essential.  But they are not essential from our POV if we are thinking just about necessary medical care.  That’s why I’m saying we could refuse to do those things that waste our time while continuing to provide care.  Either they can pay someone else to do it or can agree with us that it doesn’t need to happen.  Right now when a doctor refuses to do those things they get labeled disruptive.  If we all did it what would happen?   Would the effect be meaningless?

    Click to expand…

    Anne for President of AMA.

    Click to expand…

     

    No thank you. They keep sending me membership dues notices even though I’ve never been a member. 16+ years of wasted paper and postage.  I don’t even have to open the envelope anymore to recognize what it is. Into the shredder box they go.

    Agree with chessknt–any attempts to unionize directly in our own interests would fail.  It would just play into the whole greedy doctor narrative that the third parties (insurance companies, hospital administrators, non-physicians looking for independent practice) want the public to believe.  The only way we could ever push for change would be if the goals were to improve healthcare for patients while pointing out that the issues with our healthcare system lie with the administrators and insurance companies, who have the fiscal control, have their own interests at heart over the interests of both patients and doctors.  But the third parties have the public narrative set so that everyone is quick to jump on doctors for the reason the system is in such a mess, while at the same time enacting policies that make us feel powerless to change it.

    No, we need a new organization that advocates for doctors and for a functioning healthcare system…DAB (docs against BS)…HOW (health over wealth…of administrators and insurance company execs)…

     

     

    #228382 Reply
    Avatar faust 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 15
    Joined: 09/11/2017

    The docs here are unionized (UAPD, part of AFSCME). Our union mostly encompasses California and some Oregon/Washington. 0.9% salary goes to dues but they’ve been successful with negotiating multiple cost-of-living increases and raises in the time that I’ve been here so I’m more than happy with that deal.

    #228738 Reply
    Avatar G 
    Participant
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 1876
    Joined: 01/08/2016

    0.9%!? That is quite the rake.

    Folks here complain about $200 dues….

    #228744 Reply
    Avatar faust 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 15
    Joined: 09/11/2017

    0.9%!? That is quite the rake.

    Folks here complain about $200 dues….

    Click to expand…

    0.9%, but they’ve negotiated something like 7% COLA and 12% in guaranteed raises over the next 3 years so I’m more than pleased with the bargain.

    #228746 Reply

Reply To: What is preventing physicians from unionizing?

In case of a glitch or error, please save your text elsewhere, clear browser cache, close browser, open browser and refresh the page.

Notifications Mark all as read  |  Clear