Santa Rosa Doctors Dissatisfied With Health Plan of the Redwoods’ Contract Offers
"Dozens" of Sonoma County physicians affiliated with Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's St. Joseph Health Foundation have "threaten[ed]" to reject contract offers from Health Plan of the Redwoods for next year, saying that the agreements don't provide them with an adequate "share" of the health plan's 15% premium increase, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. HPR CEO John Baxter said that the new offers are better than past deals, with rates up to 20% higher than current reimbursements. He predicted that most doctors would accept the contracts. But according to physicians, the "full" reimbursement increases are tied to "strict guidelines" that HPR added to the contracts, such as prescribing more generic drugs and shortening the length of hospital stays. "I don't have a lot of confidence that many doctors will accept this proposal," David Schmidt, president of the Redwood Regional Medical Group, said, adding, "The only way we can be providers for HPR is to work out a different arrangement." Should the doctors choose not to accept HPR's offers, thousands of patients could be affected. For example, 28,000 of HPR's 78,000 members use doctors from St. Joseph Health Foundation. Despite doctors' discontent with HPR's offers, some health analysts say that many physicians simply can't afford to end their relationships with the health plan given the large number of patients that it covers in the Sonoma area (Allday, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/18).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.