For Immediate Release
January 31, 2014
January 31, 2014 (New York, NY) – Two doctors were elected to the leadership of Doctors Council SEIU, the nation’s oldest and largest union for doctors. Frank Proscia, M.D., a psychiatrist, will serve as President and Mathews Hurley, M.D., an internist, as 1st Vice President and Executive Director. They began serving in January 2014.
Drs. Proscia and Hurley have both come out of academic institutions – Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Columbia University, respectively. Dr. Proscia most recently served as 1st Vice President and Executive Director of Doctors Council SEIU and Dr. Hurley as 2nd Vice President, combining decades of labor leadership and clinical health care experience between the two.
“We greatly appreciate the trust our colleagues have placed in us during this important time for our profession and our health care system,” said Dr. Proscia. “Working together I know we can make significant strides in improving health care outcomes for our patients and help shape local and national priorities to better care for our communities and members.”
Under Drs. Proscia and Hurley, Doctors Council SEIU members are working together to advance doctors’ and patients’ priorities in communities: confronting healthcare inequalities; safeguarding safety-net facilities; working with health systems and partnering with academia on improving healthcare outcomes; and holding politicians accountable to their communities.
As doctors face increasing challenges in the workplace such as diminishing funding streams and reimbursement changes; new laws and regulations; increased corporate management; and the adoption of electronic medical records, Doctors Council SEIU offers a strong, united voice on behalf of doctors to speak out on issues impacting our profession and our patients.
“Our focus is on protecting doctors’ rights at work and enhancing the communities’ rights to have timely access to affordable, quality and safe care,” said Dr. Hurley. “To do that, we need to have our voices heard not only where we work, but also in our communities and among our elected officials.”
Locally, Doctors Council SEIU has been doing just that. The union has been a vocal advocate on several critical health policy issues such as paid sick-leave legislation; the reopening of the labor and delivery department at North Central Bronx Hospital; the safety of medical staff in correctional facilities; maintaining services provided through safety-net institutions; and community access to services such as immunization clinics and school based health programs.
Increased member activism is a core mission for the new leadership. Doctors Council SEIU has increased activity both within our facilities and hospitals as well as working with partners in our communities and elected officials. Doctors Council SEIU membership has grown from New York into New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois for a national presence.
“With our national presence comes the responsibility to continue advocating for our members and our patients,” said Dr. Proscia. “Now more than ever, with new issues on the horizon, we need to continue to be active in bargaining, patient care advocacy, community outreach, political action, strategic partnerships and organizing.”
Drs. Proscia and Hurley will also serve as President and Secretary of the National Doctors Alliance SEIU (NDA SEIU). Founded on March 1, 1999, the National Doctors Alliance SEIU is the largest organization of salaried doctors in the United States.
For commentary from Drs. Frank Proscia or Mathews Hurley on healthcare and labor issues in New York City, as well as nationally, please contact media representative: Karen Imas at Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz (kimas@cmw-new york.com or 212-437-7373).
About Doctors Council SEIU
Doctors Council SEIU, a professional organization for doctors, is the nation’s oldest and largest union of attending physicians and dentists in the United States, with members in New York City, and in states across the country. Formed in 1973, Doctors Council SEIU is a union for doctors and a voice for patients, and represents attending physicians and dentists at Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) facilities and hospitals, including doctors employed by the affiliates New York University School of Medicine, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Physician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY). HHC is the largest public hospital system in the nation. Doctors Council SEIU also represents doctors in the New York City Mayoral agencies including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) as well as doctors working at Rikers Island, the largest correctional facility in the nation. Affiliated with SEIU, Doctors Council SEIU is a national union representing doctors employed in the public and private sectors.
Frank Proscia, M.D., President
Frank Proscia, M.D. serves as President of Doctors Council SEIU, a union for doctors and a voice for patients. Dr. Proscia has devoted his life to helping doctors form unions and strengthen their voice at work.
The son of a construction laborer and a seamstress, Frank is the eldest of three sons. Dr. Proscia grew up in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City at a time when working people had a strong union voice that they used to build the middle class. His childhood experiences and his deep spiritual faith instilled in him a deep commitment for service. This service he extends to his wife Linda, daughters Janica and Jennifer, and to his community as a firefighter in addition to his duties as a physician and union leader.
Upon completion of his medical training at UMDNJ-Newark, he joined the ranks of Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s doctors at Queens Hospital Center (QHC). He practiced Adult Psychiatry as an inpatient Unit Chief, involving himself in QHC leadership roles in the Medical Staff Association and the Medical Executive and Steering Committees. Dr. Proscia became Executive Director of Doctors Council SEIU in 2003 and 1st Vice President in 2010, and now President. In all these positions, Dr. Proscia served his colleagues and fellow union members by leading efforts to build a stronger voice for doctors. He also serves as Chairperson and/or Trustee of various Doctors Council Welfare, Benefit, and Annuity Funds; as President of the National Doctors Alliance (NDA); and member on the SEIU Healthcare Division Leadership Board.
Doctors Council SEIU has progressed dramatically since he began as Executive Director. It has moved beyond a New York City union to become a national presence with members in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Matthews Hurley, M.D., 1st Vice President
Matthews Hurley, MD graduated from New York University School of Medicine in 1983 and has been a General Internist for almost 30 years. Dr. Hurley did his Internal Medicine training at Harlem Hospital Center and subsequently stayed on as an Attending in the Division of General Medicine employed by Columbia University. Dr. Hurley was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University for over 25 years.
Dr. Hurley has served in many roles at Harlem Hospital Center. In addition to caring for patients in both the outpatient and inpatient setting, as well as working in the Emergency Department, Dr. Hurley has also been the Medical Director of the Harlem Quit Smoking Program (Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program).
Dr. Hurley has been involved in physician-workplace and physician-patient care related issues for many years. One of his specific areas of responsibility in Doctors Council SEIU has been negotiations, as Dr. Hurley served as the Chairperson for the Negotiations Committee responsible for all aspects of collective bargaining.
Dr. Hurley has a wide range of experience in physician representation through a union. He has been part of organizing efforts leading new doctors to become members and join Doctors Council SEIU. Dr. Hurley has been involved in various committees at his hospital, including the Patient Care Committee. Dr. Hurley has participated in a number of grievances and arbitrations over the years to enforce doctors’ contract rights. He has testified numerous times at legislative and political hearings and events, as well as regularly meets with community members and groups.