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l.a. Hospitals Struggle for Emergency Room Care, Pay Physicians High Fees for On-Call Coverage
Date:7/20/2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that hospitals in the Los Angeles market are struggling to recruit physicians, particularly subspecialists, to be on-call to provide emergency care. According to the recent Los Angeles Market Overview, this physician shortage has resulted in hospitals paying high rates to physicians, ranging from $250 to $4,000 a day, to provide care if needed. This payment is in addition to the pay physicians receive if they treat a patient.

While physicians have strong negotiating power with hospitals, they do not maintain the same level of clout with area health plans, as leading health plans in the Los Angeles area have greater market share than providers. Since area physicians are only moderately consolidated, physicians have limited bargaining power to increase their reimbursement from health plans.

This limited bargaining power, combined with decreased demand for certain elective procedures and a decline in patients with commercial health insurance coverage due to the economic downturn, will likely drive more consolidation among physicians in the Los Angeles area.

"Look for physicians in the Los Angeles area to join large physician organizations, a move that has the potential to give them more negotiating power with health plans, as well as increased access to technology like electronic medical records," said Josh Kelley, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "For pharmaceutical sales representatives, a shift to a more consolidated physician segment may mean reduced access to physicians because large physician networks often have more guidelines around physician access than independent doctors."

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SOURCE HealthLeaders-InterStudy
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