The hospitals currently use independent physicians to provide inpatient care such as emergency medicine, anesthesiology and hospitalist services. The plan calls for these contracts to be managed through a national staffing firm, though not necessarily replacing the local physician groups. Up to three vendors are being evaluated.
Local professional societies fear that the move could result in some physicians losing their jobs if they're not offered a contract or are offered rates that are too low.
About 33 contracts stand to be affected by the change, said Dr. Marc Futernick, president-elect of the California chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The larger contracts might cover 30 to 40 physicians. “I think the plan has serious consequences for patient care and doesn't engage the medical staff,” he said.