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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Relief Arrives in Wake of Physician Group's Collapse

October 19, 2000

SIMI VALLEY — Several thousand patients who were left without doctors after the collapse of a local medical group got good news Wednesday when another physicians group said it would hire four Camarillo doctors who lost their jobs as a result of the company's failure. The four physicians' patients can stay with them under their existing insurance plans.

But it was still unclear whether the majority of 135,000 patients covered by Simi Valley-based Family Health Care would be reassigned to new doctors or forced to switch insurance plans if they want to continue seeing their physicians.

In a move to ease patient fears, Family Health Care officials called a news conference Wednesday in the wake of this week's collapse of the largest medical group in Ventura County. The group, with an estimated $6 million in debt, is expected to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy today.

Family Health Care officials said that all 2,000 affected high-risk patients can continue to receive care from their doctors. They noted that one obstetrician delivered a patient's baby through Caesarean section Wednesday morning despite the fact that he may never be reimbursed. And they advised patients who need prescriptions refilled to call their pharmacies, saying area pharmacies are in contact with the staff doctors who lost their jobs.

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