Discipline of a House Officer
Breaking Down Discipline
Breaking down what your contract says about discipline. Is there just cause? Possibly.
The HOA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement has a stand-alone paragraph that reads:
The Employer shall not discharge or take other disciplinary action without just cause.
It doesn’t say the Employer will "endeavor" not to discharge or "try" not to take "other" disciplinary action. The word "shall" in paragraph 150, is what is important. The word "shall," implies a legal standard, that it will be done. The language has remained unchanged for many years in consecutive contracts, which also carries weight with an arbitrator.
Non-reappointment of a House Officer
March 1 is the deadline for non-reappointment. All House Officers must be given notice of non-reappointment no less than 4 months prior to the end of his/her training year. The only situation where a House Officer would be immediately terminated is if they posed a risk to patient safety.
Program Specific Policies
Each program has written policies regarding evaluation, promotion, remediation, suspension, and termination. None of those policies supersede your collective bargaining agreement. If you find yourself on the receiving end of an evaluation or a remediation plan that seems unfair, ask for assistance. There are mechanisms in place for you to appeal/grieve these decisions.
Professionalism concerns that result in a remediation almost always fall within the scope of the collective bargaining agreement. Professional conduct is further defined in the Medical Staff Bylaws. As physicians, you are required to meet the standards set forth by the state of Michigan at an accredited institution. Physicians are governed by Public Health Code, Section 333.16221.
You have a union that is here to represent you and provide assistance, if you find yourself on the receiving end of discipline. When in doubt, reach out!