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Marin Healthcare District Launches $4.7 million plan to recruit and retain doctors for Marin County

GREENBRAE, CA — The Marin Healthcare District announced it will undertake a comprehensive Physician Development Plan, which will help recruit and retain physicians for Marin County. The plan will address the significant access to care problems facing many of the residents of the County. The budget for the first two years of the program is estimated to be $4.7-million dollars.

Marin Healthcare District CEO Lee Domanico said “More doctors will provide our residents with more choice, greater access, less waiting times, and will potentially provide better service to the often underserved Medicare and MediCal patients in Marin.” He also noted that “It is critical that all hospitals have a vibrant and growing medical community in order to support and expand hospital services and insure the hospital’s future financial success.” It has been noted that Marin General Hospital has been losing market share due to out migration of patients to SF, in part due to difficulty in obtaining services locally.

Earlier this year the District Board commissioned The Camden Group to conduct a thorough Physician Needs Assessment, and adopted the results this past June. The report indicated that there is unmet demand for primary and specialty medical care in Marin County. It reflected the fact that it is often challenging for patients to obtain timely appointments and services, or to be accepted by an existing primary care practice, which has resulted in residents seeking care outside the county. The Assessment identified a shortfall of a combined total of up to 31 primary care providers and specialists. These numbers take into consideration the age of Marin General Hospital Medical Staff and the importance of physician recruitment in advance of practicing physicians’ retirements.

The investment in the Physician Development Plan will yield greater primary care and specialty care access for Marin residents, attract patients from adjacent counties, and reduce the out migration of Marin residents to competing physicians and hospitals. The key elements include the formation of a Medical Foundation in cooperation with Prima Medical Group, formation of a 1206(B) Government Clinic, offering Individual Physician Practice Income Guarantees, and formation of a Specialty Joint Venture Limited liability Corporation to aid in entering into collaborative relationships.

“We recognize that different physicians have different preferences for how they want to run their practice so we our providing them with a wide variety of choices rather than the trying to force everyone into a single structure, which frankly, has not met with much success within Marin in the past” Domanico concluded.

The District is preparing to return Marin General Hospital to community control following Sutter’s management of the facility, which will end on June 30, 2010.