Alameda County Medical Center Votes To Outsource Psychiatric Services
The Alameda County Medical Center Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted 8-2 with one abstention to contract out psychiatry services at John George Psychiatric Pavilion, citing a need to enhance the quality of patient care and reduce costs, the Oakland Tribune reports (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 5/27).
According to a March 28 letter sent to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, 40 psychiatrists and five physician positions at John George will be eliminated on June 1. The letter -- by Joyce McGlory, interim chief human resources officer for ACMC -- stated that John George "intends to eliminate the services of all employed physicians for all shifts ... and will contract with a single provider for the purposes of staffing both inpatient and emergency services."
Doctors who would like to continue working at John George will have to reapply through the contracting provider. They would lose benefits and eligibility for retirement plans they currently receive as employees of the ACMC.
Before terminating the physicians' contracts, ACMC is required by law to meet and confer with UAPD (California Healthline, 4/25).
The proposed agreement with Pleasanton-based Becton Healthcare Resources is scheduled to begin June 8, 2005 and end June 30, 2007. ACMC would save $1.8 million during the 25-month contract, interim CEO Claude Watts said.
The union has requested a temporary restraining order in Alameda County Superior Court. A hearing date has been set for June 7.
Staff physicians and psychiatrists oppose the plan and said that they could perform the same job more effectively at a lower cost than contractors (Oakland Tribune, 5/27).