ORANGE COUNTY: Doctors Groups Feels Financial Squeeze
Many Orange County physician groups, beset by "rising medical costs and low payments from medical insurance plans, are laying off staff, closing offices and resorting to other measures to stay in business." The groups blame low reimbursements from health plans and HMOs, mandatory maternity stays and rising pharmaceutical costs for their financial pain. The Los Angeles Times reports that the following groups will be affected:
- Bristol Park Medical Group will lay off doctors and close four offices -- Huntington Beach, Irvine, Orange and Laguna Hills -- by Dec. 1.
- Kaiser Permanente "may postpone plans to expand its local network of doctors offices." Kaiser's Dr. Kenneth Bell said, "If you haven't got (the money), you can't spend it." The HMO may also delay medical office openings in San Juan Capistrano, Yorba Linda and Santa Ana.
- Monarch Healthcare says physician pay has dropped 15% the past year (Marsh, 11/6).