Medical director resigns over California group's new direction

Alan Sockolov, MD, resigned as primary care medical director of San Ramon, Calif.-based Hill Physicians over management changes that he felt undercut physicians, he told the Sacramento Business Journal in a Dec. 16 article.

Dr. Sockolov handed in his resignation in November after 20 years as primary care medical director. He was also vice president of the medical group's all-physician executive committee.

Dr. Sockolov told the Business Journal that Hill Physicians has prioritized growing its administration and its affiliated management services organization over the past five years, resulting in less payment to physicians.

In a separate interview, Hill Physicians CEO David Joyner told the Business Journal that growth in the group's administration and of PriMed Management (which handles EHR and population health data functions for Hill Physicians) "hasn't been at the expense of physician reimbursement."

In 2019, Hill Physicians spent $407 million on physician and "other contracted” services, a year-over-year increase of 5.3 percent. The group reported $138.4 million in administrative expenses such as salaries, software maintenance, rent and purchased services, up 6.4 percent from 2018.
In the past decade, the medical group has added an EHR and launched a new PPO model, according to Mr. Joyner.

"Hill has just changed over the last few years," Dr. Sockolov said. "Hill has always been a good group for doctors, but it seems like it's going to be more of a [health] plan-based or MSO-based organization."

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