96% vote to OK walkout over conditions at urgent care clinics
The following is from the Union of American Physicians & Dentists (UAPD):
TACOMA, Wash. (Sept. 26, 2023) — Providers at MultiCare’s Indigo Urgent Care Clinics overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization vote, sending the health network’s executives a clear message: Improve safety for patients by ending staff burnout.
The vote announced Monday was approved by a 96 percent margin and clears the way for a strike in as soon as 10 days across 24 urgent care clinic locations.
The announcement comes as contract negotiations between about 80 doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners—represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD)—are set to resume on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
Bargaining with MultiCare has focused on several key issues that include excessive patient loads, forcing providers to see patients beyond their 12-hour shifts, no scheduled meal breaks, and wages that do not keep pace with the rising cost of living in Washington.
MultiCare has also refused to address Indigo’s provider turnover rate of 26 percent during the last 12 months.
The Indigo Urgent Care Clinics serve a critical need in local healthcare by seeing patients who might otherwise arrive at already overcrowded hospital emergency rooms across the Puget Sound.
A strike at 24 clinics would cost MultiCare millions in lost revenue, according to UAPD. A one-week work stoppage would reduce patient out-of-pocket revenue by at least $2 million. The actual amount is likely to be much higher since it does not include revenue from insurance claims.
Tacoma-based MultiCare has revenues of nearly $4 billion annually and its top executives are among the highest paid of any nonprofit healthcare organization in Washington. William Robertson, its chief executive officer, has received double-digit increases, according to public disclosures, and is paid $2.3 million annually. The network’s two other top executives saw similar increases and were paid $2 million and $1.8 million respectively.