California Healthline Highlights County Health Action
Calaveras County Health Service Agency Director Jeanne Boyce on Monday asked supervisors to increase staff in the county's personnel office to help hire qualified nurses and medical assistants, the Stockton Record reports.
According to Boyce, the shortage of nurses and other medical staff is preventing the county from accessing state funding for health care. Boyce said the county's fiscal year 2006-2007 budget should include funds to increase personnel department staff, as the health agency is having problems finding qualified workers who speak Spanish.
The county's proposed budget contains little new spending but recommends hiring nine additional mental health workers. The new positions will be paid for by about $761,000 in Proposition 63 funds -- a 1% increase in the state income tax on state residents whose annual incomes exceed $1 million. Voters in 2004 approved Proposition 63.
Budget hearings will continue Wednesday and Thursday (Nichols, Stockton Record, 6/6).
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday asked a county committee to examine alternatives to eliminating subsidies for health insurance premiums for early retirees, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Ending the subsidy would increase health insurance premiums for early retirees by about $200 monthly on average beginning on Jan. 1, 2007.
Active county employees currently pay about $20 monthly on average to offset the cost of health insurance premiums for county employees who retire before they are eligible for Medicare, but county leaders said they need to separately account for liabilities for health care benefits for active employees and early retirees. Not accounting for the liabilities separately could affect the county's credit rating under new rules, according to county Treasurer Paul McDonnell.
Supervisors directed the county Pension Advisory Review Committee to consider strategies to mitigate the financial impact on early retirees of a change in policy. The committee will hold a special hearing and is expected to provide recommendations to the board of supervisors within 30 days (Trone, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/7).
Ventura County supervisors on Tuesday approved using $8.6 million in tobacco settlement money to the county public health system, the Ventura County Star reports.
Supervisors accepted a citizens' advisory committee's recommendations to spend:
- $6.7 million on mental health services, children's medical services, the county hospital and satellite clinics;
- $1.3 million on disease prevention, dental care and tobacco-education programs administered by the county Public Health Department and community organizations;
- $313,000 to reimburse Ojai Valley Community Hospital and private physicians for providing emergency care to uninsured patients; and
- $214,600 on administration and a grant to the Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks.
Private hospital administrators this year requested more funding from the tobacco settlement, but supervisors declined the request, saying that the public health care system provides the majority of mental and medical care for low-income residents (Ventura County Star, 6/7). 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.