Competition for doctors heats up in northern CA

While there's always competition for good physicians, things have gotten particularly hot in northern California, where two powerful healthcare organizations have gone into recruitment overdrive. Both Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health have ramped up aggressive recruitment efforts there in recent times, with Kaiser's Permanente Medical Group hiring almost 1,000 physicians over the last three years alone. That's a big number even for a large group like Permanente Medical, which now employs about 6,200 doctors across northern California. Meanwhile, Sutter's Palo Alto Medical Foundation has hired 302 physicians over the past three years, a smaller but still significant number.

The two players have some significant leverage over competitors in the region. For one thing, they simply pay more. For example, Kaiser apparently offers $140,000 starting annual salaries, plus guaranteed income and mortgage insurance, while the region's smaller groups typically pay more like $90,000 to $125,000 in annual salary. Add that to the fact that many physicians feel Kaiser and Sutter have the market locked up, and independent practice doesn't look so good, observers say. That's led to many groups selling out to Kaiser, which has been on a practice buying spree.

To find out more about northern CA's recruitment trends:
- read this San Francisco Business Times piece

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