Cost of Running Hospital Hits San Mateo County Hard
The San Mateo County Controller's Office released a savings plan for the county that recommends closing the public San Mateo Medical Center and outsourcing care for low-income patients to other local hospitals, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
The county could save at least $24 million annually through the plan, according to a recently released Controller's audit.
Controller Tom Huening said the hospital this year is estimated to spend about $70 million to care for about 16,200 low-income patients, while the state estimates the cost of providing such care at $30 million to $35 million. State law requires counties to provide medical services to indigent residents.
Instead of operating their own hospitals, some counties contract with other facilities to provide health care services to low-income patients.
County Supervisor Jerry Hill said the county has begun a pilot program to screen out some of the estimated 2,700 patients the county is not legally required to serve.
Hill said a county Blue Ribbon Task Force on Adult Health Care Coverage Expansion is developing a plan for insuring or paying for low-income patient care by June. Hill added that he does not expect a final decision on the hospital until this summer (Carpenter, San Francisco Examiner, 3/8).