California insurance regulators ruled that the California Public Employees' Retirement System could not drop four southern California hospitals from its statewide HMO network but could drop 24 other hospitals. The state Department of Managed Health Care said CalPERS could not drop 327-bed Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier; 157-bed Sierra View District Hospital in Porterville; 261-bed St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard; and 180-bed St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo. The department said patients in those areas would not have adequate access to care if the hospitals were not in CalPERS' HMO network. Anticipating savings of up to $50 million annually, the pension fund in May adopted a plan to drop 38 high-cost hospitals from its Blue Shield of California HMO network. Ten of the hospitals have since arranged for their continued participation in the network by agreeing to lower rates or making other changes. -- by Laura B. Benko
Calif. bars CalPERS from dropping four hospitals
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