Health Care Facility Closures, Conversions Could Save $308M in Los Angeles County
Los Angeles County could reduce costs by about $308 million by closing some health care facilities and converting one county hospital to an outpatient facility, according to a report released Friday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The report, which the county Board of Supervisors commissioned, identifies two hospitals and 12 public health clinics that could be closed to help address a projected $198 million county budget deficit for fiscal year 2006-2007. The report found that the closure of six comprehensive health centers could save $131.5 million. In addition, six personal health service centers could be closed for total savings of $13.5 million.
The report also says that $85 million could be saved by converting either Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance or Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center in South Los Angeles into outpatient facilities.
Department of Health Services spokesperson John Wallace said that the report does not actually recommend the clinics and hospitals for closure. He said, "The list is simply a tally of the county costs associated with each facility to show the magnitude of reductions that might be necessary."
James Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California, said, "Unfortunately, these kinds of discussions have to be had because we are dealing with tough fiscal times. Hard decisions are going to have to be made."
According to the Daily News, county officials "are not optimistic that much in additional funds will be made available to save the public health system."
County DHS Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said, "There is no single thing on the horizon that will bail out the health system," adding that the $125 million for the system recently approved by supervisors "will hopefully stave off any further reductions for another year or two" (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/9).