Doctors reject contract proposal from Providence Medical Group
SEATTLE - The Northwest Physicians Alliance, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, representing doctors at Providence Medical Group (PMG) clinics in the Puget Sound area, unanimously rejected a contract proposal Nov. 5 because it didn't provide them with the voice they need to advocate for patients.
Citing concerns about ensuring good patient care, approximately 80 doctors organized into a union nearly two years ago and have been negotiating since then with a succession of managements at the clinics.
"Two years ago, we found that our concerns were not listened to nor taken seriously so we decided we needed a formal voice with management, a union," said Dr. Hope Rice, a family physician at the West Seattle Clinic for 13 years. "We were frustrated by our inability to be effective advocates for our patients and we believe a strong union contract will give us a strong voice at PMG."
The physicians were the first to organize in the Pacific Northwest and among the first clinic physicians in the nation to unionize.
Dr. Mary Jo Kitner, a physician at the Magnolia PMG clinic, said: "We need a contract to ensure that physicians have a voice in how they care for their patients. We need a strong contract as a counter-weight to the pressures of corporate medicine."
On Nov. 11 doctors - wearing white coats with stethoscopes around their necks - leafleted patients on the street in front of Providence Medical Center.
The physicians here are leading a national trend in insisting that doctors, and not corporate medicine, speak for their patients.
The union represents approximately 80 primary care physicians at clinics in the Puget Sound area.
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