Unionizing Physicians

December 1, 2017

Physician Stakeholders

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 3.20.36 PM

As pointed out in this blog post, there is little doubt that over recent years, physicians have lost much of their bargaining power. In many practice settings, it can be cogently argued, they are now treated like “hired hands.”

What to do? Under similar circumstances, many groups have chosen to unionize. Would this be a good approach for physicians to choose to regain their bargaining power?

A couple of thoughts. First, it is important to note that there has long been a union in existence that includes both physicians and dentists. It is cleverly called the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, was formed in 1972, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. By all reports, it has been the most successful physician union.

Also important to note, is that the AMA has historically opposed physician unionization. Clinging to the old private practice model, the organization took only a brief foray into unionization, losing $3 Million in the process.

Bottom Line. All of that having been said, something seems sort of creepy to me about physicians joining a union. I always think of unions as being for people in roles that are largely interchangeable. Factory workers and the like. Arguing for compensation and other consideration for the least common denominator. NOT for professionals like doctors and lawyers!

But what else can physicians do to gain back control of their profession? What indeed!

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply