Health Care Reductions Could Threaten Medical Residency Programs in Los Angeles County
Hospitals officials have raised concerns that planned budget reductions in the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services could "upend" the county's medical education programs and reduce the number of physician faculty members and medical residency positions at county hospitals, the Los Angeles Times reports. Although the county has not released details of the planned reductions, "the bottom line is that there will be fewer medical residency positions for the students finishing medical school in Southern California," Dr. Charles Francis, president of Drew University of Medicine and Science, said. Francis and other health officials said that a decrease in residency positions could lead to a reduction in the number of physicians who practice in the county. "People tend to stay where they're trained," according to Dr. Lawrence Stock, a clinical faculty member at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Although county health officials have acknowledged that the proposed reductions could harm health care services, they said that they "may not have a choice" in the face of a budget deficit that could reach $800 million in three years, the Times reports. The county pays $70.2 million to the University of Southern California to operate the County-USC Medical Center; $11.9 million to Drew University to run King/Drew Hospital; and $19.1 million to the University of California-Los Angeles to run Harbor-UCLA and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. Without a "budget miracle" in the form of a $350 million "bailout" from the state or federal government, the county will have to consider reductions in health services at Harbor-UCLA and Olive View-UCLA and may eliminate emergency rooms and inpatient services at the facilities. At County-USC, the county may eliminate "high-end services," such as transplants (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 7/10).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.