Energy Crisis Could Mean Cuts for Los Angeles County’s Health Services
Los Angeles County unveiled its proposed $16 billion budget for 2001-02 yesterday, but officials expressed concern that the energy crisis, which is expected to cause the county's energy bill to nearly double in the coming year, could cut into the county's surplus and force cuts in some services, including health care, the Los Angeles Times reports. Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said that he expects each county department to "find the extra money" to cover energy costs in its own budget, a plan that could prove particularly troublesome for the county's financially ailing Department of Health Services. The department has twice received a federal waiver allowing the county to receive Medicaid reimbursement for treating patients in outpatient clinics rather than in hospitals. Health department officials are drafting a plan to replace the $233 million a year in federal dollars it receives through the waiver, which expires in five years. Janssen's budget proposal does not call for cuts at the health department, which also has been "buoyed" by $41.8 million in tobacco settlement funds. The proposed budget also includes a $90.2 million increase for social services, which would be used to hire 1,000 new employees to help enroll more people in Medi-Cal. An additional $11.5 million is budgeted for Healthy Families enrollment outreach. The budget also includes $28.4 million to hire 129 people to expand mental health services for children and the homeless (Larrubia, Los Angeles Times, 4/24).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.