No agreement yet with public hospital staff

The Dominican Medical Association (CMD) is not satisfied with what the government has offered to improve conditions for staff at public hospitals. On the CMD agenda are topics such as pension plans, public service networks, wage increases, the budget for primary health care, housing plans for staff, among others.

Public Health Superintendent, Pedro Luis Castellanos, nevertheless, is optimistic that the talks will continue and an agreement will eventually be reached. He said more advances than ever have already been reached responding to a question during an interview on Enfoque Matinal morning Channel 37 TV show with Altagracia Salazar, Edith Febles and Franklin Guerrero.

On the Presidency webpage, the Medina government has gone public saying they have offered pension plans to those staff over the age 60 and have more than 20 years of service in the public hospitals. This would benefit 8,000 persons.

The website added that health plans would be included in the benefit packages.

The government has also proposed that staff serving in two different positions of 3-4 hours of work in different hospitals be integrated into one position with 6-8 hours of service, with their wages commensurate with the total hours served. This would benefit 20,000 health care professionals who are currently working in multiple institutions.

The government has also proposed that physicians who would be affected by the reorganization of job appointments receive a wage increase of at least 20%.

The government proposal would mean the monthly wages of physicians would increase from RD$36,000 to RD$67,000, including incentives.

Factions within the CMD have called for a global wage increase for all employees. The government responded with a proposal for a 30% increase divided in 20% for 2017 and 10% more in 2018.

Minister of Public Health, Altagracia Guzman Marcelino, has called on the representatives of the CMD to continue the dialogue with the government as the most effective way to achieve work related improvements so that all employees, including nurses, medics and medical technicians in the health care sector could enjoy increased benefits of dedicating their lives to serving the public. She stressed that the government seeks a comprehensive improvement in the health sector.

Guzman Marcelino noted that the CMD is requesting a 60% global wage increase, which she says would be more of the same because it does not include incentives for medics working in remote areas, such as the border region. She explained the government proposal includes changes in the appointments of the medics according to training and position so that all are compensated in accordance to the work conducted. She confirmed the government was willing to accept a global increase of 20% in 2017, with incentives for 10% for medics submitting to a recertification program, 10% for performance and 10% for working in primary care. The government wants to grant wage increases based on performance indicators and positions outside of major urban areas.

But the president of the CMD, Dr. Waldo Ariel Suero, has said that the government proposals are unacceptable. He said the proposal to pension 6,000 health sector workers, and create only 700 new appointments would create a health care provider deficit in the sector.

Talks began on 14 April 2016, under the mediation of the rector of the Santo Domingo Catholic University, Father Jesus Castro and the participation of representatives of the CMD, and the government represented by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo. In addition, Drs. Cesar Mella, Jose Joaquin Puello and Julio Amado Castanos Guzman are participating as observers.



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