Physicians at Loma Linda University Health file petition to unionize

Residents and fellow physicians at Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health filed to form a union to demand that administrators do more to improve patient care and better support physicians working at the system's six hospitals.

Loma Linda residents and fellow physicians staff various hospitals, including Loma Linda University Medical Center, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System and Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Calif.

The physicians filed a petition on Feb. 13 to unionize with the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which has more than 5,000 members in California, New Mexico and Washington. 

They are asking administrators for fair compensation that meets cost of living requirements and is commensurate with similar large academic hospitals in California. 

Other demands and concerns raised by the physicians include: 

  • A safe working environment to care for 25 percent of California's geographic population
  • Failing to provide sleeping quarters in the hospital when required to remain overnight
  • Scheduling physicians to work up to 120 hours per week, leading to challenging work conditions that can undermine patient care
  • Unaddressed physician burnout, which has led to moral injury, depression and suicide

"These doctors are being shut out of decision making that directly affects patient care. The last thing anyone wants is patient care to suffer. These physicians should not be ignored," Stuart Bussey, MD, president of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, said in a Feb. 15 news release.

A spokesperson for Loma Linda University Health shared the following statement with Becker's Hospital Review: "Loma Linda University Health respects the rights and opinions of all our team members, which include medical residents and fellows who may want union representation and those who do not. We are committed to listening and advocating for our residents as we continue to provide a world-class educational experience that will prepare them for the next steps in their careers. Loma Linda University Health acts in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act and will continue to do so throughout this process."

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