UCSD resident physicians call for leadership to address their well-being amid contract negotiations

More than 100 resident physicians and nurses at University of California San Diego Health protested Oct. 5 over the hospital administration's alleged refusal to negotiate a fair contract that addresses physician well-being, according to union representatives for the workers.

The action was part of a series of protests by resident physicians of UC San Diego Health, represented by the San Diego House Staff Association and the Committee of Interns and Residents.

Union representatives allege that resident physicians, who have been without a contract since July 1, are not adequately paid and often work more than 80 hours weekly amid staffing shortages.

"By allowing their contract to expire and refusing to offer a fair package that prioritizes physician wellbeing, UCSD Health is jeopardizing patient care and their ability to recruit qualified residents," the representatives said in a news release.

UC San Diego Health, in a statement issued Oct. 5, said the system deeply values the work of its resident physicians and clinical fellows.

The system also said it adheres to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education guidelines for appropriate work duty hours and requirements and emphasized its commitment to safety.

"UC San Diego Health prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of all its team members and has been a national leader in protecting its team members by offering CDC-approved PPE protocols and equipment. We are also among the first health systems in the nation to offer comprehensive COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs for all team members," the system's statement reads.

During contract negotiations, the system said it has offered a "robust package" that includes year-over-year pay increases, increased housing and education stipends, increased meal allowances and the creation of a Resident Physician Wellness Committee.

UC San Diego Health is an academic system with multidisciplinary care teams that include 980 resident physicians and clinical fellows. The Committee of Interns and Residents, a local of the Service Employees International Union, is the nation's largest house staff union, representing more than 20,000 resident physicians and fellows in the U.S.

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