County Rejects Recommendations for Health Agency
Stanislaus County does not need many civil grand jury recommendations to address the county Health Services Agency's fiscal problems because they are impractical and costly, according to a draft response to the 2005-2006 grand jury report, the Modesto Bee reports. The county Board of Supervisors considered the draft response at its meeting Tuesday.
According to the draft, the county already has begun implementing several of the recommendations, but in some instances, the report reflects a situation that no longer exists.
The county is reorganizing its clinic system, including closing one of seven sites. The draft response rejects a proposal to further consolidate the system, saying that gaining new federal classification that would increase reimbursements for the agency depends in part on serving "medically underserved areas," such as rural areas in the county. The response states that 40% of clinic patients received services in such areas.
The response also rejects a recommendation to standardize information systems across the county because the health care system warrants a more complex software system than other county departments.
The grand jury report recommended that the agency use tax revenue to pay off a $23.72 million loan from the county, which paid off debt that had accumulated since 1997, and use interest from a tobacco settlement to fund the agency after the loan is repaid.
The draft response rejects both recommendations, noting that the Board of Supervisors has agreed to provide the agency with $3.75 million annually beginning in 2007-2008 to subsidize future health services. The agency would like to use the tobacco settlement interest to repay the county (Moran, Modesto Bee, 9/12).