KAISER PERMANENTE: Union Sets Sights on Docs
In the wake of its success in organizing 800 doctors in Los Angeles, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists -- the nation's largest and oldest labor organization for doctors -- is renewing its efforts "to organize 3,300 Kaiser doctors in Northern California." Board Secretary Dr. Deanne Hillsman said, "That's our holy grail. If we can organize that puppy ... it will open the door everywhere for us." The Sacramento Business Journal reports that within 24 hours of the Southern California victory, the union's Web site received more than 1,000 hits, and the organization is now pursing leads with approximately 60 doctors around the nation interested in unionization. Union President Dr. Robert Weinmann said, "Disgust doctors have with the restrictions of managed care is, of course, our leading tool." However, the Business Journal reports that it may be slow going, as doctors in the Permanente Medical Group "govern it themselves," and "face far fewer restrictions over medical care than their peers in private practice." In addition, the recent rate hikes granted to Kaiser "have brought a sense of optimism about capital improvements" and salary increases (Robertson, 6/7 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.