Kaiser, Sutter Health Lead Physician Hiring in Northern California
Kaiser's Permanente Medical Group and Sutter Health's Palo Alto Medical Foundation are hiring significantly more doctors than other physician practices in Northern California, leading to concerns that the trend will increase their influence in the area's health care arena, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Throughout Northern California, Kaiser has hired 1,000 doctors over the past three years, according to Robbie Pearl, executive director and CEO of Permanente Medical Group. Another five independent physician practices have joined Permanente Medical Group in recent years, Pearl said.
Meanwhile, PAMF has hired 302 doctors over the past three years.
Permanente Medical Group and PAMF are considered to be the major players in physician hiring in the area, raising concerns from some independent physician practices that they will not be able to compete.
Richard Oken, a pediatrician and managing partner of the nine-member East Bay Pediatric Medical Group, said small physician practices offer annual salaries ranging from $90,000 to $125,000, while Kaiser is believed to offer salaries beginning at $140,000 and offer other benefits that small practices cannot afford to offer.
PAMF CEO David Druker said new doctors are drawn to larger practices because they offer stability, technology and other benefits that few smaller practices offer. Moreover, because of the barriers to starting an independent practice in the area, Druker said "the market is rapidly turning into Kaiser and PAMF" (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 11/19).