SONOMA COUNTY: Redwood Empire & Healdsburg Medical Groups to Merge
Participants at Sonoma County health system's annual local health care conference held in Rohnert Park this week, complained that "doctors are not getting paid enough, patients are not getting the doctors they want and employers can't be sure of the stability of group insurance bought for workers" (Rose, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 11/17). But a merger announced yesterday between two of the county's major doctors' groups could provide some relief to some 68,000 patients and almost 400 doctors. After months of "courtship," Redwood Empire Medical Group and Healdsburg Medical Group -- a major contractor with Health Plan of the Redwoods (HPR) -- announced yesterday plans to form the Medical Group of the Redwoods, making it the largest local physician group outside of Kaiser Permanente. The merger allows both groups to bring to the table strengths the other is lacking: Healdsburg patients will gain access to Redwood's many specialists and Redwood enrollees will benefit from Healdsburg's large contract with HPR. In addition to predicted fiscal improvements, the move allows doctors to maintain control and "streamline" administration. Redwood Empire President Donald Van Giesen believes the merger "provides an opportunity for physicians to access all significant HMO contracts through one medical group" and gives patients a "greater chance" of retaining their current doctor after changing plans. (Rose, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 11/19).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.