Los Angeles County Reinstates Doctors’ Benefits Package
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted to restore a "generous benefits package" it had stripped from 800 county doctors when they unionized four years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. In 1999, county doctors were "angered" by cuts in health department and voted to join the national Union of American Physicians and Dentists, the Times reports. At the time, county officials said that the doctors would forfeit their right to the "megaflex" package, which traditionally was only available to nonunion county employees. The megaflex package paid doctors as much as 19% over their base salary for the purchase of health insurance and other benefits and allowed the doctors to keep any unspent portion of that money as a cash bonus. Despite union challenges, the county voted to replace the doctors' megaflex plan with a standard benefits package in 2001. According to the Times, the doctors became "disenchanted" with the union's negotiating tactics and the loss of the megaflex package, and in June they voted to drop out of the union. Joe Bader, executive director of the union, said that it would still represent doctors on an individual basis and would appeal a judge's decision earlier this month that the county did not act in bad faith by changing the doctors' benefits package when they joined the union (Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 9/24).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.