St. Joseph, PacifiCare Set Termination Dates
Nearly 20,000 seniors enrolled in PacifiCare's Secure Horizons will lose access to St. Joseph Health System's physicians on March 31, 2001, the Orange County Register reports. In addition, about 90,000 regular PacifiCare HMO members will lose access to St. Joseph's doctors and hospitals on June 31, 2001, according to a joint statement last week. Last month, PacifiCare and St. Joseph, Orange County's largest medical group, said they would end their business relationship because they could not agree on financial terms. Both groups said there were "no provisions for continuing care," forcing members currently treated by St. Joseph doctors to "either be reassigned to new providers or change health plans." Indicating that they were losing $45 million annually on HMO contracts, St. Joseph officials said they "could not afford to renew with health plans unless they agreed to accept a larger share of the financial risks for high cost drugs, procedures and unforseen medical needs." PacifiCare is one of 11 HMO contracts the health system did not renew (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 11/17).