Grand Jury Criticizes County Health Spending Plan
Stanislaus County officials must develop more reliable funding sources to reduce the county health care system's $8.7 million budget shortfall, rather than rely on future revenue sources that might not materialize, a county grand jury report states, the Modesto Bee reports.
The report criticizes the county for trying to provide more services than the amount of money it is willing to commit to health care.
The grand jury recommends that the county:
- Repay a $23.7 million loan to itself that was used to fund health care deficits, possibly by using property tax revenue;
- Use $1.2 million to $2.1 million in interest generated by tobacco tax bonds for health care;
- Consolidate county clinic operations at a single facility to eliminate lease payments from multiple sites;
- Continue seeking changes in federal health care reimbursement statutes and state law to increase Medi-Cal reimbursements; and
- Reconsider administrative costs and county Health Services Agency employee salaries and benefits, which are above industry averages.
Stanislaus County CEO Rick Robinson said the grand jury report is "misleading." According to Robinson, the county has committed $3.75 million annually from its general fund to pay for health care and interest from the tobacco bonds is being used to pay off the $23.7 million loan.
Robinson said consolidating services at one center would make it difficult for residents in certain areas to access health services (Moran, Modesto Bee, 6/30).