Marin County Hospitals, IPA Offer Loans to Attract New Doctors
To ease a "pending doctor crunch" in Marin County, the not-for-profit Marin General and Novato Community hospitals, along with the Marin Individual Practice Association, are devoting between $400,000 and $500,000 this year "to provide low-cost, three-year loans to up to six doctors new to the area to help cover the costs of establishing their practices," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Many California counties have a "disturbing number of doctors" leaving local practices early because of low reimbursements from managed care organizations, but problems with retention and finding replacements are exacerbated in the Bay Area because of the area's high cost of living. Under the program, selected physicians will receive $50,000-$150,000 loans, and a portion of their debts "will be forgiven after three, four and five years to encourage the recruit[s] to stay" in the community, the Chronicle reports. In addition, Marin IPA and the hospitals intend to work with a local brokerage firm to offer the recruits discounted real estate loans. Kaiser Permanente started a similar home loan program in Northern California this year for its physicians (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17).