Los Angeles County Physicians Vote To Leave Union
Los Angeles County doctors have voted 331-229 to leave the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, citing dissatisfaction with benefits and the union's "hardball negotiating tactics," the Los Angeles Times reports. About 800 physicians became members of the union in 1999. Those voting to leave the union said its tactics had "exacerbated tensions" with the management of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, according to the Times. The "most divisive" issue had been the cancellation of a benefits package called megaflex, which gave the physicians funding to purchase insurance and other benefits and could raise compensation by as much as 19% in some instances; megaflex was intended to compensate county doctors who earn less than those in private practice, the Times reports. But the county cancelled the program in 2001 and replaced it with a plan county physicians said was less generous. Some doctors held the union responsible for the cancellation; the union has since sued the county, claiming that the benefits cancellation was illegal. Joe Bader, regional administrator for the union, said it is likely that the union will seek another vote with the county doctors. Donna Singh, chief of employee relations for Los Angeles County, said there are no immediate plans to reinstate the megaflex package (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 6/20).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.