Advocacy Groups Sue To Stop Closure of Two Alameda County Clinics
As expected, the Oakland-based Disability Rights Advocates and Bay Area Legal Aid yesterday filed a lawsuit to stop the scheduled June 30 closure of two Alameda County health clinics that serve about 25,000 people, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (DeFao, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/18). In April, the Alameda County Medical Center's board voted to eliminate outpatient services at Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro and Central Health Center in Oakland (California Healthline, 6/12). The medical center, which has four other outpatient clinics, faces a $12 million budget deficit and estimates that it would save $4.5 million by closing the two clinics and laying off 30 employees. The medical center is independent of Alameda County but contracts with the county to provide health care to low-income residents. The two advocacy groups filed the suit against the county because they maintain that the county would violate its legal obligation to provide medical services to indigent residents if it closes the clinics. Rachel Kagan, a spokesperson for the medical center, said that the two clinics' 11,500 most vulnerable patients -- including those who are receiving prenatal, pediatric, HIV, or dental care or those who have serious, chronic illnesses -- are being transferred to other clinics within the system; medical center officials have not made formal transfer plans for the clinics' other patients. The two advocacy groups seek a preliminary injunction to stop the closures; a hearing will be held concerning the matter on June 26 (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.