CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Doctors Group Threatens To Walk
"A rebellion over a pay cut is brewing among doctors in the Muir Medical Group, threatening to leave the organization and its 40,000 patients with fewer obstetricians, orthopedists and other specialists," the Contra Costa Times reports. Specialists in the 300-member IPA, which serves the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System, are objecting to contracts for next year that would cut their pay by an average of 13% -- with some specialists seeing cuts as high as 20%. So far, very few doctors have signed the new contracts and many are "saying they might not sign at all." The Contra Costs Times reports that "[t]alks between the groups and its obstetricians reportedly have broken off," and that if the dispute remains unresolved, the medical "group many find itself scrambling to sign on new specialists." A spokesperson for the Muir/Diablo system, which is aiming to "become the dominant health care provider in central Contra Costa County," said the system was confident that the dispute would be resolved "and the medical group will remain intact." The Muir system has informed the doctors that more money "would be made available for next year, but it is not clear which physicians will receive it and whether it will be enough to forestall defections." Dr. Richard Fraioli, president of the Muir Medical Group, said, "I think we're working hard to keep the IPA together. But it may be a little smaller when all is said and done." The Contra Costa Times reports that some 20 insurers contract with the Muir/Mt. Diablo network (Appleby, 10/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.