LIFEGUARD: Signs Up Woodland Healthcare Docs
Lifeguard Inc., a successful San Jose-based nonprofit HMO, has signed the Woodland Healthcare physician group to a fee-for-service contract. The Sacramento Business Journal reports that "the deal adds Woodland's 85-physician multispecialty group to Lifeguard's network of 1,161 doctors in the four-county Sacramento area." Lifeguard, which entered the Sacramento market in 1993, currently enrolls about 4,700 members around the city, and a total of 235,000 in Northern California. Lifeguard is unique among California HMOs in that it does not capitate payments, but still turns a profit with fee-for-service payments. Mark Hyde, Lifeguard's president and CEO, said, "The purpose is to expand our geographic coverage in order to make us more competitive in the entire region. Employers aren't as likely to sign up with a health plan that has gaping holes in a service area." The deal comes as the physician group attempts to "shake off more than $10 million in losses over the last two years." Woodland COO Bill Hunt said, "We're optimistic about break-even in fiscal year 1999," noting that Woodland's $2 million in losses last year were a vast improvement over the $8.5 million it lost in the period ending June 30, 1997 (Robertson, 1/11).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.