Announcing 2020-2021 President-Elect, Brandon Peplinski!

Please join us in welcoming our new President-Elect, Dr. Brandon Peplinski!

Currently, Brandon is an Internal Medicine PGY2 and highly-involved UWHA General Board member. He has been championing resident rights over the past year on our Escalation Team.


We’re looking forward to Brandon stepping into his new role! If you are interested in joining the board this upcoming year, please reach out to admin@uwha.com #uwha #iamUWHA

Life Insurance for Residents and Fellows

In light of the SARS2 (nee COVID19) pandemic, there is a lot of current anxiety regarding the health of our resident members – in addition to the financial health. What follows is a somewhat macabre summary of some of our benefits with regards to student loans and the protections in place for residents with student loans in the event of death. 

UW offers Basic Group Life Insurance for all resident employees – amount of $35,000. At the time of hiring, and thereafter, there were opportunities to sign up for additional Term Group Life Insurance. The group number for these policies is the UW Group number (email us if you need this). You should have received letters in the mail detailing your coverage and beneficiaries that you have elected. Unfortunately, the MetLife website is frequently under maintenance and it is very difficult to call – “due to high call volumes.” Be prepared for this if you are trying to change your beneficiary elections. 

With regards to loans, federal student loans are disbanded in the case of the borrowers demise: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/death. What is needed for this to happen is that proof of death be mailed to the borrower’s loan servicer. 

There are, however, some caveats. If you have a co-signer for PLUS loans, co-signers in the past have been taxed on these PLUS loans as income – form 1099-C. However, this also should (hopefully) be a thing of the past based upon the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which protects the family and estate of the deceased borrower. 

Unfortunately, private loans and refinanced loans are much more case-by-case and you must refer to the original terms of the loan and plan accordingly. 

Similarly, private consumer debt such as auto loans, credit cards, etc., are case by case. 

This is a macabre and unfortunate topic, I know; but as this pandemic deepens and more residents are exposed, it behooves us to speak to our families and develop plans, just as we recommend to our patients. 

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Thank you to Dr. Axel Adams (PGY1, Emergency Medicine) for putting together this information to share

UWHA Condemns the Firing of Dr. Ming Lin

The UWHA fully supports Dr. Ming Lin, a physician who fearlessly advocated for the safety of the staff and patients at PeaceHealth. Disturbingly, PeaceHealth and TeamHealth subsequently terminated him for speaking up. At hospitals across the country, there is a massive shortage of PPE, and many hospital protocols are haphazard, confusing, or even dangerous. When faced with unsafe or unjust conditions, physicians have a professional and moral duty to advocate for what is right for patients and for their fellow healthcare workers. Now is not the time to file paperwork and let these issues trickle up the bureaucratic ladder. These are systemic problems that need to be fixed NOW. We stand in solidarity with Dr. Lin, a physician who did the right thing even though he knew he might be punished for it. Rather than seeking to suppress whistleblowers, employers must engage their employees to collaboratively solve these complex problems. Only by working together, can we ensure that both our patients and co-workers are protected during these challenging times.

Support Letter from UW Radiology Program Director and Faculty

Thank you to all those in Radiology who are standing with residents in support of a fair contract. We highly appreciate your support!

Members: Please encourage your Program Directors to show support – we would love to see Program Directors from every department sign support letters of their own.

Check out the Letter of Support from Internal Medicine Program Directors.

Check out the Letter of Support from the Family Medicine Program Director and Faculty.

Check out the Letter of Support from the Pathology Program Director and Faculty.

UWHA Emergency Childcare Fund

Due to the increased need for childcare, the UWHA has decided to set up an emergency childcare fund for the next few weeks. One of the reasons for our recent dues increase was to be able to assist with unexpected needs as they arise. Although our union is financially lean, we believe this is the right thing to do in our current situation. We will continue to fight for the need of a Emergency Childcare Fund from UW and in our next contract as well. 

At this time, we will be limiting the fund to families with parents who are both residents, or families where the resident is the sole income provider. This fund will also be limited to support for additional childcare costs that are directly related to COVID19.  If this applies to you, please fill out the form. 

We will try our best to reimburse as many as you as possible to the maximum amount possible, but we recognize that our funds will fall far short of our members’ needs. 

UW Childcare Updates: https://hr.uw.edu/child-care/backup-and-sick-child-care/.

Notice Re: Halting Negotiations & Actions

The COVID-19 outbreak has thrust our region into a public health crisis. UWHA residents have been and will continue to be on the frontlines, taking care of patients and doing their utmost to contain the epidemic so as to protect all of our communities. Given the dire circumstances, the UWHA board has decided to halt all negotiations and actions for the next two weeks to allow our members to focus on what they do best: caring for patients.

This means we are postponing the ROS Action pending re-evaluation at a later date.
UWHA residents have been working on an expired contract since June of 2019. Despite months of negotiations, where members of the bargaining team have now each missed over 100 hours of patient care, the UW continues to make contract offers that amount to a pay-cut, keeping UW residents far behind their colleagues at peer institutions. UW is showing just how little they value residents at a time when they should be doing the opposite. We are committed to continuing to fight for a fair contract. We plan to reconvene on April 1st to continue the work of bargaining in good faith and intend to reach a contract we can all be proud of.

March 11th Bargaining Session

UWHA and UW Labor Relations (LR) met for the twenty-sixth bargaining session on Wednesday, March 11th. UWHA sent counter proposals in advance for Articles 1, 3, 6, 15, 16, 19, 23, and 25. You can read the highlights and view the package proposal. LR submitted a new proposals for Articles 2, 6, 23, and a Side Letter and MOU. Article 13 (Leave – Miscellaneous) was Tentatively Agreed to by both parties.

Article 2 (Committees), LR offered that all UWHA and peer-appointed resident/fellow committee members shall be granted an excused absence(s) from regular clinical or scholarly duties to attend their respective committee meeting. 

Article 6 (Fringe Benefits), beginning July 1, 2020, the Employer will increase the meal reimbursement to ten dollars ($10.00) per meal. 

Article 23 (Salary/Stipends), increased the housing stipend an additional $100 starting July 1, 2020, totalling $2,400 (please note this has been combined with the $750 travel stipend, so is more like $1,650 for housing and $750 for travel).

The side letter notes that the offer in Article 2 can be extended if mutually agreed upon. 

The MOU would provide a $950.00 lump sum to residents sixty days after ratification.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18th from 3:00-7:00pm at Roosevelt Commons West, Rm. 271. UWHA welcomes all members to attend.

Support Letter from UW Pathology Program Director and Faculty

Thank you to all those in Pathology who are standing with residents in support of a fair contract. We highly appreciate your support!

Members: Please encourage your Program Directors to show support – we would love to see Program Directors from every department sign support letters of their own.

Check out the Letter of Support from Internal Medicine Program Directors.

Check out the Letter of Support from the Family Medicine Program Director and Faculty.

UWHA Endorses Resident Bill of Rights

The University of Washington Housestaff Association (UWHA) proudly endorses the Resident Bill of Rights, authored by the Yale Medical Residents and the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR). 

Our union was created with the purpose of improving working conditions and salaries for residents and fellows at the University of Washington. We wholeheartedly believe that a Resident Bill of Rights is needed and is a step in the right for direction for resident well being across our country. 

The Resident Bill of Rights includes:

  1. A living wage that allows us to support our family and pay off our educational debt. 
  2. The right to provide the best care possible for our patients and act in the best interests of the community where we live and work.
  3. No more than 80 working hours per week, not as an average and including non-clinical tasks. 
  4. Time off for being sick, access to parental leave and seeking health care without pressure to leave it unused.
  5. Recognition as full-time workers and a right to unionize, giving us the ability to use our collective voices to advocate to employers and lawmakers for our patients and ourselves as workers, not as learners.
  6. Transparency, standardization, and due process from the institutions and employers that make key decisions about our careers and futures.
  7. Access to mental health services without scrutiny or stigmatization.
  8. Equal access to career and learning development.
  9. Adequate hospital staffing and support, including the maintenance of backup call schedules for every residency program. 

You can sign the Bill of Rights at anewrealitynow.com and show your support by spreading the word. Toolkits with posters and social media samples are also available.