The MCDH Blog

Citizens Advisory Committee and AB 648
—Posted Sunday, March 15th, 2009 at 7:57 pm—
« »

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.

2 Responses to “Citizens Advisory Committee and AB 648”

  1. Christopher says:

    Was the consensus of the citizens advisory group that this would have a positive fiscal impact on hospitals?

    Do doctors in the area also feel this would have a positive impact on their patient encounters as well as a positive fiscal impact on their practices considering they may loose leverage on salary negotiations and I assume be unable to establish contracts with the hospital regarding length of patient encounters?

  2. Raymond Hino says:

    Hi Christopher. Yes. The consensus of the CAC was that physician employment would have a very positive fiscal and clinical impact on our hospital. The Committee is very aware of the fact that our hospital already has 1 employed physician because of SB 376 which allowed a very limited number of physicians to be employed 3-5 years ago. If AB 648 does not pass, we will probably lose our employed physician, Dr. John Rochat who is a Board Certified Oncologist at our hospital. If Dr. Rochat leaves then our hospital, our community and our cancer patients will suffer. My information on what other doctors think, comes from doctors seeking to move to our area. They, most often, want to know about salary, benefits and time off. Since we do not offer employment, we cannot offer any of these incentives. This would not eliminate a doctor’s leverage to negotiate salary. As a Hospital Administrator, I would never dream of telling a physician how to practice medicine. Dr. Rochat was recently quoted in an online news article in which he said “the insurance plans try to tell us how to practice medicine, our Hospital Administrators would not know how to begin to tell us how to practice medicine.” I hope that answers your questions. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have more questions.