VENTURA COUNTY: Family Healthcare Cancels PacifiCare Contract
Ventura County's largest physician group, Family Healthcare Medical, has cancelled its contract with PacifiCare in the western region of the county. Family Healthcare Director Randy Farber said the HMO "was paying inadequate premiums in (western) Ventura County, and we felt we would have to sacrifice quality care if we accepted their terms." He added, "We had to make the decision between some of our customers and all of our customers. We did not want to become like so many other medical groups who went out of business trying to survive on payments below expenses." The move affects 4,400 subscribers in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura, including 1,800 enrollees who are senior citizens. Seniors can retain their coverage by switching providers, but individuals whose physicians hold exclusive contracts with PacifiCare must change doctors. PacifiCare spokesperson Tyler Mason said that only one-third of PacifiCare's western Ventura County customers will have to make the switch. The medical group, however, will continue contracting with PacifiCare in other parts of the county, as well as in Los Angeles County. Family Healthcare's decision comes shortly after both St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard also pulled out of PacifiCare contracts last month (Richardson, Ventura County Star, 2/3).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.