Hospital Districts’ Use of Tax Dollars Draws Concern
San Diego County's four hospital districts are facing scrutiny from a local elected official for using taxpayer dollars for charitable grants that are not connected to the hospitals, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Each district is governed by elected board members who are required to hold public meetings. The districts are:
- Palomar Pomerado; and
However, Ruth Sterling, a La Mesa council member and liaison between the city and the Grossmont Healthcare District, said, "I don't know if the taxpayer knows (the district's) job is to give away taxpayer money."
Sterling said that she does not know what guidelines the district uses but that "the taxpayer hasn't had a voice in this."
The hospitals in the Grossmont and Fallbrook health care districts are run by private corporations that use the majority of their taxpayer money for charitable grants.
Barry Jantz, CEO of the Grossmont district, said, "You have to look at health care in the community, not just the four walls of the hospital."
Tri-City and Palomar Pomerado districts run their hospitals and have more limitations on using public funds for charitable grants. Both districts spend millions of dollars each year on hospital bills for uninsured and underinsured patients.
Grant applicants are not required to be a health organization if they can demonstrate to the board a connection to medical needs. Grant recipients include a fire district, rehabilitation center and senior citizens club (Krueger, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/24). 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.