L.A. County Budget Hit by Funding Cuts, Jump in Demand for Services
Los Angeles County officials are weighing options for county services as state funding declines and demand from residents increases, the Los Angeles Times reports. The county will receive $128 million less than county officials had anticipated under the state budget that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed last month.
Over the past year, 100,000 more county residents have enrolled in Medi-Cal, bringing the total number of Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Los Angeles County to 1.6 million.Â Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The increase in Medi-Cal beneficiaries comes as the county is working to shorten hospital stays for some patients and is preparing to send some county residents to lower-cost facilities for health care services when hospitals cannot accommodate them.
In addition, county CEO William Fujioka has voiced concern about cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates and the prospects for negotiating a new Medicaid agreement with CMS officials.Â The agreement could be worth as much as $900 million to Los Angeles County.
Fujioka and other county officials will travel to Washington, D.C., in January to press their case for the agreement, but Fujioka said he is concerned that "the federal officials might say there is no money" (Therolf/Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 10/8).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.