Measure on Hospitals’ Hiring of Doctors Sparks Hospital, Clinic Debate
California clinics and hospitals are divided over a bill (SB 726) would relax California's ban on hospitals' direct hiring of physicians by letting 52 districts in medically underserved areas directly hire up to five doctors each, the Fresno Bee reports.
Proponents of the measure, including several regional health districts like the Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, say the bill is necessary to combat physician shortages and to recruit doctors who desire a regular source of income.
Opponents like the Central Valley Health Network counter that it would cause them to lose staff if state laws are revised to let nearby competitors directly hire doctors, exacerbating the current physician shortage.
The California Medical Association opposes the measure over concerns about physician autonomy. CMA argues that a better way to end the physician shortage would be to create incentives for physicians to practice in rural areas.
The California Hospital Association supports a separate bill (AB 648) that would allow rural hospitals to hire up to 10 physicians each.California is one of only five states to largely forbid direct hiring of physicians by hospitals (Schultz, Fresno Bee, 2/7). 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.