New Kaiser Facilities Concern Local Providers
Kaiser Permanente's expansion could pose challenges for local providers who had contracts to provide services to Kaiser members, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation, the East Bay Business Times reports. Kaiser increasingly is canceling those contracts as it opens more facilities.
Kaiser currently is undergoing a multi-year expansion and construction campaign that could cost about $21 billion. The plans include rebuilding hospitals, expanding other hospitals and building new facilities.
The HMO says its plans are based on state seismic safety requirements and the need to serve its members.
The CHCF report also identified six other large-scale trends in California's health care market, including:
- The migration of patients away from HMOs;
- Health plans seeking more concessions from hospitals;
- Hospitals spending more to fund construction projects;
- More consumer protection rules taking effect;
- Health care payers emphasizing quality; and
- The challenge of caring for the uninsured (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 3/9).
While those issues are helping shape California health care overall, Kaiser Permanente also is having difficulty meeting the demand for physicians in Northern California as many of its physicians are leaving for "less demanding jobs" or reducing their work schedules, according to an internal report, the San Francisco Business Times reports. The report was conducted by a physician recruiting and retention subcommittee.
The author -- Mark Roberts, chief of medicine at Kaiser's Vallejo Medical Center -- noted that the physician shortage has resulted in a 13% turnover rate during the last two to three years, although Kaiser has hired about 160 physicians annually in the region during the last three years.
The subcommittee will seek the help of recent hires to help recruit physicians from their former practices (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 3/9).