L.A. County Supervisors Line Up Against Plan To Shutter County Clinics
The majority of Los Angeles County supervisors on Thursday spoke out against a plan by county health officials to close 11 county-run health clinics in an effort to address a budget deficit for the county health department, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The department faces a projected deficit of $195 million to $331 million for the next fiscal year. Within four years, the shortfall is expected to reach $1.6 billion.
The county attributes the deficit to rising health care costs for treating indigent and uninsured patients, as well as federal and state reimbursements that have failed to keep pace with rising costs (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 2/15).
The plan calls for the county to expand contracts with private, not-for-profit clinics to provide medical services to uninsured patients. Medi-Cal beneficiaries and patients with limited insurance who currently use county clinics would have to find other sources of care (California Healthline, 2/14).
Under the most drastic scenario, county health officials have privately proposed closing all six of the county's comprehensive outpatient health centers and the clinics, according to a confidential draft of the plan obtained by the Times.
The plan was crafted in case the county fails to resolve disputes with federal regulators over $137 million in funding. County health officials declined to comment on the proposal but noted that it is a "work in progress."
The plan will be formally presented to the supervisors on Tuesday. A final vote is not expected until June (Los Angeles Times, 2/15).