Kern County Medical Fund Administrators Meet Following Criticism From State Lawmaker
Administrators of a Kern County fund to offset the costs of treating the uninsured on Friday will meet with doctors and hospitals to discuss how they would like the fund to be administered, following criticism from Sen. Dean Florez (D-Bakersfield) and others, the Bakersfield Californian reports. Florez said that authority over the Kern County Emergency Medical Services Fund should be shifted to a doctor's group, in part because the county Emergency Medical Services Department, which currently administers the $892,000 in the fund, has made some payments late or did not make them at all. Under current agreements, the fund is supposed to make monthly payments to doctors and quarterly payments to hospitals. According to Ross Elliott, director of the county EMS department, the county has missed two monthly payments to doctors since July because of staff limitations. Florez's office has asked the 425-member Kern County Medical Society to potentially operate the fund. Sandi Palumbo, executive director of the society, said the group was "not actively seeking involvement" but added that other medical societies in the state are successfully managing similar county funds. The fund is "not a perfect system," Elliot said, adding, "I want to be sensitive to our customers' needs. We want to fix this." Terry Hilliard, who heads a group representing about 40 doctors and one hospital that receive money from the fund, said his group hopes to see "more consistent payment to providers and a full reporting of how money is being spent, including interest" (Wenner, Bakersfield Californian, 4/19).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.