Health Care District’s Funds for Recruitment Program Going Unused
Critics are protesting Peninsula Health Care District's allocation of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a physician recruitment program that no physicians completed over the course of nearly 10 years, the Bay Citizen reports.
In 2003, Peninsula established the program to attract new physicians to San Mateo County.
Peninsula designed the program to help physicians cover the costs of establishing private practices or relocating to the area. Under the program, physicians who practiced in the district for four or five years would have their loans forgiven.
From 2003 until 2008, the district budgeted up to $500,000 to fund the program.
However, no physicians completed the program during that time, so district officials began pushing the money into a community health investment account in fiscal year 2008-2009. Peninsula still allocated funding for a physician's home loan in fiscal year 2010-2011. Officials have given the physician until the end of September to use the money to purchase a house.
Criticism of Unused Funds
Anthony Wright -- executive director of Health Access California -- said, "If there is a program that hasn't worked for 10 years, you would think there would be a course correction, especially with so many dire health care needs in California."
He added, "In the last 10 years, we had tough budget cuts to care for the uninsured and safety net providers. Given the district's mission, it would certainly have been important for the district to fill in for the drastic budget cuts we've seen."
Cheryl Fama -- CEO of the Peninsula Health Care District -- said that "recruiting physicians isn't our priority." She noted that the information on the physician recruitment program is provided on the district's website but that the group does not advertise it. Fama said, "We are here to meet the needs of the community."
According to Fama, the district will continue to offer the program "should a physician come forward" (Gollan, Bay Citizen, 5/29).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.