Judge Issues Injunction Barring Bed Cuts at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center
U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper yesterday issued a tentative ruling barring a 100-bed cutback at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, part of the county's "strategy for shoring up its ailing health system," the Los Angeles Times reports. In a case brought by a coalition of public interest law groups, Cooper said that the county health system is in "utter chaos with respect to providing timely care to those in need," adding in her decision that the cuts would allow the county to "shirk its obligation to its neediest residents," the Times reports. Cooper also said that the cuts would result in "dangerous delays of needed medical treatment" and would lead to the spread of infectious diseases, complications from delayed rehabilitation and unnecessarily lengthy and costly hospitalizations (Fox et al., Los Angeles Times, 5/9). The decision comes after Cooper on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction preventing the county from shutting down Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center until the county can show that disabled Medi-Cal beneficiaries can obtain comparable care elsewhere. In that ruling, Cooper wrote that closing the center would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Before the earlier ruling, county Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said the county might be forced to make $700 million in health cuts by closing other facilities and eliminating some health services if it cannot close Rancho Los Amigos and eliminate beds at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center (California Healthline, 5/7). While the ruling on Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center is not final, it is considered an indication of how Cooper ultimately will rule in the case, according to the Times. Cooper may formalize her order after a hearing on Monday (Los Angeles Times, 5/9).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.