FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Tricia Piper-Bennett
Governor Newsom to Decide on Protections for UC Resident Physicians
Following approval in the California legislature, Due Process Bill moves to the Governor’s Desk
Sacramento – AB 2114, (Rodriguez) that will give basic worker’s rights to the medical and dental interns, resident physicians and fellows training in University of California (UC) hospitals, is now with Governor Newsom.
Dr. Arunima Kohli recently completed her Family Medicine residency at UC Davis. As a 2nd-year resident, she joined fellow interns, residents and fellows to unionize with the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU (CIR/SEIU). “As Resident Physicians we organized because we know first-hand that the culture of medicine is tough; it can be hostile, and bullying is commonplace.”
AB 2114, would provide interns and residents protections against retaliation for speaking out on issues that impact them or their patients’ safety. Throughout the on-going pandemic doctors and nurses have been warned not to speak out regarding testing, case numbers or PPE shortages (Medscape, March 2020). Fear of retaliation for speaking out, has delayed needed protocols for protecting healthcare professionals.
Although interns and residents tirelessly serve patients in the UC system, they are the only UC employees not granted due process protections. Due process is not unprecedented in Residency programs. Dr. Kohli recently testified that, “…over 50 collective bargaining agreements for residents in California and across the nation guarantee this basic right.”
Recognizing the importance of our healthcare professionals, AB 2114 has continued to move through the California Legislature during a COVID-impacted legislative session.
Giving testimony during a recent Senate Committee meeting, Dr. Anna Yap, an Emergency Medicine Resident physician and Regional Vice President at CIR/SEIU, stated, “AB 2114 would give us the ability to speak up for the PPE we need to work through a pandemic and safely advocate as doctors, as women of color and as patient advocates, and know if we are retaliated against for doing so there will be an impartial review officer to consider actions taken against us.”
This basic protection, and the fate of UC interns, resident physicians and fellows during a global pandemic, now rests with Governor Newsom.
The Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) is the largest housestaff union in the United States. A local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing over 17,000 resident physicians and fellows. Our members are dedicated to improving residency training and education, advancing patient care, and expanding healthcare access for our communities.