Judge Issues Injunction Barring Los Angeles County From Closing Rancho Los Amigos
U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper yesterday issued a preliminary injunction preventing Los Angeles 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, the Los Angeles Times reports. In the ruling, Cooper wrote that closing the center would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (Fox, Los Angeles Times, 5/7). The injunction comes after Cooper ruled last week that she would delay temporarily Rancho Los Amigos' scheduled June 30 closure. The county Board of Supervisors in January voted to close Rancho Los Amigos, which provides services to more than 9,500 patients -- about half of whom are Medi-Cal beneficiaries -- to save $58.6 million in 2004 and up to $70 million in future years. A coalition of disability rights advocates in March sued to block the closure as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, alleging that it would leave Medi-Cal beneficiaries with no other treatment options (California Healthline, 5/6). It could take months for the case to go to trial, "virtually ensuring" that Rancho will continue to operate past the scheduled closing date, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 5/7). Before yesterday's ruling, county Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen said Los Angeles 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 100 beds at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center (California Healthline, 5/6).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.