Health Services May Be Cut in Contra Costa, Los Angeles Counties
Contra Costa County must reduce spending by $20 million to address a $43 million deficit, and cuts will include some public health programs, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The county is planning cuts in mental health services for juveniles, public clinics, the county hospital and substance abuse programs. Pharmacies at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and in Richmond, Pittsburg and Martinez will close under the proposed budget.
Workers in some programs that could be cut said reducing preventive services could lead to more costly treatments in the future.
Supervisors will vote on the proposed $1.25 billion budget, by County Administrator John Cullen, May 2 (Rosen Lum, Contra Costa Times, 4/17).
Los Angeles County's health care system could face a more than $1 billion deficit within three years if its current rate of providing treatment to the uninsured continues, the Los Angeles Times reports. Health experts say "such a fiscal meltdown could threaten the entire regional health system," according to the Los Angeles Times.
County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen is expected to release details of the county's proposed $20 billion budget on Monday.
Officials estimate that more than two out of every three patients who seek care at county-run medical facilities are uninsured.
The county plans to spend an addition $50 million on the health system in the next fiscal year. In addition, Bruce Chernof, the county interim health director, has said the anticipated health system deficit could be reduced to $555 million if a proposed tobacco tax, which would fund certain health services, on the November ballot is approved.
State and federal funds -- such as an expected $166 million from Proposition 63 -- could help fund other county services. Proposition 63 was approved by voters in 2004 to provide funding for mental health services. In addition county supervisors will use higher-than-expected tax revenues to fund public safety programs, including a $100 million plan to expand services to the homeless (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 4/16).