UC-DAVIS: Primary Care Network Fires 100 Specialists
In the "first mass termination of Sacramento-area doctors in almost four year," the UC-Davis Primary Care Network last month fired 100 of its specialists. "We don't need as many specialists as we thought and they're costing us a fortune," said Dr. Phil Raimondi, medical director of the network. The Sacramento Business Journal reports that the network "aggressively signed up specialists and primary care doctors in outlying communities" a few years ago in order to "increase referrals" to the UC-Davis Medical Center and Medical Group. But Raimondi said the network's initial goal of broad specialty access did not work. "We are simply not getting enough money from HMOs to pay as much for specialty services next year as we did this year. We need to internalize some of this," he said. As the Business Journal notes, "it costs too much money to contract with so many specialists in outlying areas when a university faculty of more than 400 doctors -- the UC-Davis Medical Group -- can do much of the work at UC-Davis Medical Center." Dr. Alan Siefkin, executive director of the medical group, said the decision to let the specialists go is an attempt to improve the way the network responds to the managed care market. Squeezed by the cost pressures of managed care, the UC- Davis system "hopes to shave its operating budget by $10 million." The doctors' terminations take effect Dec. 16, but how they will affect UC-Davis members is unclear. The Business Journal reports that the cuts won't affect patients' relationships with their primary care doctors, who generally refer patients to specialists. But because it is open enrollment season, the Business Journal reports that many consumers "might be signing up for health plans ... based on the assumption that they can go on seeing specialists who have now been terminated" (Robertson, 11/2 issue).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.