SONOMA COUNTY: Healdsburg Medical Group Folds
Marking the third medical group shutdown in Sonoma county this year, Healdsburg Medical Group is ceasing operations as a medical administrator, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. HMGI consisted of 32 primary care physicians located throughout Sonoma County who served about 12,000 residents insured through Health Plan of the Redwoods. HMGI's closing follows that of Redwood Empire Medical Group, which consisted of 350 PCPs and specialists, and Specialty Physicians Alliance, which had 250 specialists. HMGI is working with member physicians to distribute patients among the seven remaining HPR-contracted medical groups by Aug. 31 without disruption. HMGI's closing is a result of high administration costs, rising prescription costs and an aging population using more medical services, according to HMGI officials. Robert Sherrill, a Santa Rosa health care consultant, said that "the three closures indicate a clear trend toward consolidation of medical administration." He added, "It is unfortunate because we have had two big failures and even if this one is not a big one, people are wondering whether their doctor is next." However, John Baxter, CEO of HPR, doubts that other small medical groups will follow suit. He said, "As HMGI physicians transfer, I expect the other medical groups to grow. A medical group's ability to succeed is not dependent on its size" (Rose, 8/1).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.