San Jose/Good Samaritan Medical Group Faces Financial Problems
San Jose/Good Samaritan Medical Group, the largest physician group in the South Bay, is in "serious financial trouble" and may be near bankruptcy, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Dr. Dean Didech, the group's chief medical officer and board chair, attributed the problems to declining reimbursements and a "sharp decline" in its number of HMO patients, from 90,000 in 2001 to 60,000 in 2002. Dr. Jack Lewin, CEO of the California Medical Association, added that because the medical group is not aligned with large health care companies, such as the hospital chain Sutter Health, it lacks "negotiating clout." The group may cut jobs, close one or more satellite offices or possibly file for bankruptcy in order to return to financial health. The group's physicians and investors met yesterday to discuss possible strategies, but no specific plans will be announced in the next three or four weeks, Didech said. Lewin said that if the group dissolves, its patients would have to see other providers, possibly leading to "long delays for medical appointments," overloading emergency rooms and urgent care centers and prompting doctors to leave the area, the Mercury News reports. However, Didech said, "We are confident we will restore the group's financial health. Our patients will see business as usual" (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 9/19).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.