We are blessed to have a group of approximately 15 community citizens who volunteer their time once per month to help Mendocino Coast District Hospital. On the second Saturday of each month, these volunteers spend 2 hours discussing the most recent events at MCDH and within our community. I look to them to provide me feedback, from a community member’s perspective, of what is going on in our hospital.
This month, the topic that got the most active discussion was an Assembly Bill (AB 648) that would allow rural hospitals such as MCDH to employ doctors in the future. As it stands today, California hospitals are prohibited by law from employing medical doctors. California is 1 of only 2 States in our Country that prohibit hospitals from employing doctors (Texas is the other one). We are finding that the doctors of today are very interested in employment. The other alternatives for doctors are to join an existing group of doctors in practice, or to go into business for themselves (private practice). Not surprisingly, more and more doctors choose the comfort and security of going to work for a large employer (e.g. a hospital) rather than going into business for themselves. It is going to take an outcry from doctors, citizens and hospitals in order to get AB 648 approved in California. I am so grateful that we have a group of committed citizens that are willing to make that kind of an effort.