TOGETHER WE CAN CREATE A NEW REALITY FOR RESIDENT PHYSICIANS
Better care starts with the Bill of Rights
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, too many interns, residents, and fellows were forced to work in conditions that impaired their ability to provide quality patient care. Facing sleep deprivation, overwork, and inadequate access to medical and mental health treatment, residents caring for their communities were not being properly cared for themselves. Now that hospitals are under an enormous amount of pressure to respond to COVID-19, the challenges residents have faced for generations are only exacerbated.
As professionals in the health care industry, resident physicians see firsthand how a fundamentally broken system has made basic health care services inaccessible to many. Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, we have an obligation and an opportunity to ensure that the future of medicine is more equitable for all. That’s why, on behalf of resident physicians and patients, we are calling on the health care industry, especially hospitals, ACGME, specialty boards, and elected officials, to recognize the following core rights:
A living wage that allows us to support our families and pay off our educational debts. Employers that profit off of our labor must provide:
- A living wage appropriate to our location
- Subsidized housing or housing stipend
- Family health insurance at no cost to the resident, with discretion about the coverage we receive
- Child care stipend for those with child dependents
The right to provide the best care possible for our patients and act in the best interests of the communities where we live and work. The health care industry and lawmakers must commit to:
- An increased effort to support diversity in residency programs and faculty appointments
- Access to funds for improving patient safety through projects and research
- Access to funds for community outreach
- The ability to give physicians as much time as possible with our patients by strictly enforcing limits on non-physician work
No more than 80 working hours per week, not as an average and including non-clinical tasks.
Time off for being sick, access to parental leave and seeking health care without pressure to leave it unused.
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.
Transparency, standardization, and due process from the institutions and employers that make key decisions about our careers and futures, especially:
- Transparent standards and unbiased decision-making in GME
- A fair process for airing and remedying grievances, without retaliation or bias
- Standardized remediation plans and transparent remediation processes
- The ability to hold our employers accountable
Access to mental health services without scrutiny or stigmatization.
Equal access to learning and career development through:
- Education and book stipends
- Access to leadership roles on hospital committees
- Reimbursement for board certifications and educational conferences
- Time off for job interviews and conferences (outside of Continuing Medical Education/vacation days)
Adequate hospital staffing and support, including the maintenance of back-up call schedules for every residency program.
Thank you for signing this Bill of Rights.
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