Expected Citation Latest in Series of Problems at L.A. County Hospitals
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County health officials are expected to propose a plan to county supervisors to reduce overcrowding and treatment delays at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, which state inspectors recently accused of placing patients in "immediate jeopardy," the Los Angeles Times reports (Engel/Lin II, Los Angeles Times, 2/9).
Last week, county health officials said they expected a citation that could put the public hospital's federal funding at risk if it does not create a plan of correction (California Healthline, 2/6).
Harbor-UCLA is the third county-run hospital in recent months to violate federal rules for emergency department deaths.
In August 2007, the county closed the ED at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Willowbrook after the hospital failed several inspections and lost federal funding. Five other EDs in Los Angeles County have closed since 2003.
Bruce Chernof, the county's health services director, said the county is having "active" negotiations with private operators to reopen King-Harbor.
Meanwhile, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar also risks losing federal funding for patient care violations.
The Times reports that the overcrowding problems at EDs in Los Angeles County are not likely to improve in the short term and that long-term solutions are not expected for several years.
Carol Meyer, director of governmental affairs at the county's health services department, said a long-awaited expansion of Harbor-UCLA's ED will not be completed until 2011 at the earliest (Los Angeles Times, 2/9).