Health Advocates Testify Against Los Angeles County Hospital Closings
Hospital workers, patients and elected officials on Thursday asked the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Commission to encourage the Board of Supervisors to expand emergency care rather than carry out reductions proposed to alleviate a budget deficit expected to reach about $800 million in three years, the Los Angeles Times reports. The board plans to vote later this year on whether to convert Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center -- both of which operate emergency rooms -- into outpatient clinics. The supervisors already voted to close 11 community health clinics and four school-based clinics by the end of the month and to convert High Desert Hospital to an outpatient clinic by May. Doctors and hospital CEOs yesterday told the commission, which advises the supervisors, that further reductions in county services would have a "domino effect" on remaining facilities, which might not have the capacity to treat displaced patients. Following the testimony, the commission voted to support a proposed $168 million parcel tax, which voters will consider in November. The ballot proposal, which requires 66% approval for passage, would tax developed properties three cents per square foot and use the funds to avoid some health services reductions and improve the county's bioterrorism response resources. The commission also recommended the board wait six months before making any more reductions in health services (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 9/13).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.