Debate Swirls Over Plan To Cut Beds at Los Angeles County Hospital
Los Angeles County public health officials have revived a proposal to cut 70 beds at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center because of a mounting budget deficit, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports.
The proposed downsizing comes as officials prepare to move the county hospital to a smaller facility this summer, prompting critics to ask the county Board of Supervisors to replace those beds at other facilities. The request was included in a letter to the board on Wednesday.
Critics who sued over a similar plan in 2003 said the cuts would violate a 2005 settlement that banned the hospital from closing beds for four years unless it met certain benchmarks, including that patient wait times must be kept below seven hours.
The settlement allows for 35 beds to be cut at any time as long as officials can reduce the average length of stay by 0.3 days and maintain that level for 90 days.
County health officials say the hospital has met those benchmarks, but lawyers overseeing the settlement said they have not been able to verify the county's data.
Critics of the planned cut are asking the county to delay the bed reduction because of fears that it would needlessly strain the county's hospital system, the Daily Journal reports.
Twelve hospitals and 11 emergency departments in the county have closed since 2003 (George, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 3/6).