Today two bills aimed at bringing improving healthcare in rural California, were passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and are now one step away from being approved by the legislature.
AB 2024 would provide a special exemption to north coast hospitals allowing them to recruit and directly hire physicians and specialists. That practice is currently banned due to fears that hospital management will inappropriately influence medical decisions if doctors are employed directly by the hospital. This means that doctors have to open and manage their own practice and contract independently to work at hospitals. Unfortunately that model makes it nearly impossible to recruit doctors to rural communities and in part has led to the desperate shortage of doctors on the North Coast. By allowing hospitals to directly recruit and hire doctors, the doctors can earn a guaranteed salary, and not have to worry about the extra burdens of operating an independent practice.