Serving the Community Since 1956

Serving the Community Since 1956

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

AB2024 Allows Critical Access Hospitals to Hire Physicians

Sacramento – AB 2024 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) was signed by the Governor. Recruiting physicians to practice in rural communities is a significant challenge. Only 16 of California’s 58 counties have enough primary care physicians. As a result, only one-third of Californians live in a community where they have adequate access to health care. Adequately staffing these hospitals is absolutely necessary for the health of its residents and the viability of the community. This bill will allow federally certified “critical access hospitals” – hospitals with less than 25 beds and typically located in remote, rural areas – to employ physicians and bill for those services, a practice currently prohibited in California. Current law does not allow the employment of physicians, with only a few exceptions. “Preserving the conventional mode of practice is short-sighted,” said Wood. “Other states have shown that the sky will not fall and hiring physicians who want to practice as an employee has been mutually beneficial, especially in rural areas where operating a private practice may not be financially feasible.” “I introduced AB 2024 because people in rural California deserve access to health care. Creating a pathway and incentive for physicians to practice in these communities is a great first step,” said Wood, “and we are very pleased that the Governor recognizes this challenge in rural communities.

Source: 

GovBuddy






Assembly Bill No. 2024
CHAPTER 496

An act to amend Section 2401 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to healing arts.

[ Approved by Governor  September 23, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State  September 23, 2016. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2024, Wood. Critical access hospitals: employment.
Existing law, the Medical Practice Act, restricts the employment of physicians and surgeons or doctors of podiatric medicine by a corporation or other artificial legal entity to entities that do not charge for professional services rendered to patients and are approved by the Medical Board of California, subject to specified exemptions. Existing law establishes the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, which succeeds to and is vested with all the duties, powers, responsibilities, and jurisdiction of the State Department of Public Health relating to health planning and research development.
This bill, until January 1, 2024, would also authorize a federally certified critical access hospital to employ those medical professionals and charge for professional services rendered by those medical professionals if the medical staff concur by an affirmative vote that the professional’s employment is in the best interest of the communities served by the hospital and the hospital does not direct or interfere with the professional judgment of a physician and surgeon, as specified. The bill would require the office, on or before July 1, 2023, to provide a report to the Legislature containing data on the impact of this authorization on federally certified critical access hospitals and their ability to recruit and retain physicians and surgeons, as specified. The bill would, on and after July 1, 2017, and until July 1, 2023, require a federally critical access hospital employing those medical professionals under this authorization to submit a report, on or before July 1 of each year, to the office as specified.


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