CMS Administrator Tom Scully To Tour Los Angeles County Hospitals
CMS Administrator Tom Scully will visit Los Angeles County on Nov. 6 to assess the local health care crisis, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 10/24). The county's health system faces a potential $750 million budget deficit by 2005, and county officials have set an Oct. 29 deadline to decide whether to close dozens of public clinics, as well as Harbor-UCLA and Olive View-UCLA medical centers, to balance the budget. The county received a $1.2 billion federal bailout in 1995 and an extension of the funds in 2000. The funds are expected to expire in 2005. County and state officials earlier this month met with federal health officials to discuss the possibility of further federal assistance. Federal officials were "noncommittal" about giving the county more funds but encouraged county officials to delay the Oct. 29 vote (California Healthline, 10/10). The Daily News reports that county supervisors are considering delaying the vote until after Scully visits. If the county receives some federal assistance, health department officials would prefer to keep Olive View-UCLA open because shutting it down would leave the San Fernando and Antelope valleys without a county hospital. Supervisor Don Knabe said Scully wants to keep both Olive View-UCLA and Harbor-UCLA open and may consider consolidating specialty procedures, such as heart surgeries, at one of the facilities to save money. Scully is scheduled to tour Harbor-UCLA, the only hospital in the South Bay area prepared to handle a terrorist attack or natural disaster; Supervisor Michael Antonovich also has asked Scully to tour Olive View-UCLA and High Desert Hospital in Lancaster (Los Angeles Daily News, 10/24).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.