California Healthline Highlights Recent County News
Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to contract with four ambulance companies for 911 emergency response services, the Los Angeles Times reports. The county Department of Health Services recommended contracting with multiple companies to improve response times.
A representative from American Medical Response -- which sought to maintain its "near-monopoly" on county ambulance services for the past two years -- criticized the county's methods for choosing the providers, the Times reports. However, county attorneys said the selection process was fair.
The companies must develop a mutual aid plan within 60 days, supervisors said (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 3/15).
Orange County will repay the federal government $143,328 in Ryan White CARE Act funds after an audit concluded that the county did not have adequate oversight of services being provided by a not-for-profit center, the Orange County Register reports. The funds were intended to be used to provide services to minority AIDS patients.
County officials said they will continue appealing the audit but will pay back the federal funds to avoid penalties or interest while pursuing the appeal.
Meanwhile, the black citizens' group 100 Black Men has asked to participate in decisions on the distribution of $83,000 in federal funding intended for HIV-positive blacks next year (Santana/Saavedra, Orange County Register, 3/14).
About 1,800 Santa Cruz County workers, including mental health specialists and public health nurses, on Tuesday held a one-day strike over health benefits and wages after talks broke off last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/15).
County spokesperson Dinah Phillips said that most of the contract issues have been resolved and that the county has accepted the union's health care benefits proposal.
However, Nancy Elliot -- president of the county's chapter of the Service Employees International Union, Local 415 -- said the union has compromised on health and retirement benefits and cannot concede on other issues.
No talks between the county and union are scheduled (McLaughlin/McPherson, San Jose Mercury News, 3/15).