L.A. County Supervisors Request Alternatives to Plan To Close Clinics
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to postpone consideration of a plan to close 11 county-run clinics and reduce services at comprehensive outpatient centers to curb the county Department of Health Services budget deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Instead, supervisors asked health department officials to identify other options for addressing the budget gap.
The health department's budget deficit is expected to reach at least $195 million by July 1 and could reach $1.6 billion within four years. The county says the deficit can be attributed to federal and state reimbursements for the indigent and uninsured that have failed to keep pace with rising health costs (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 2/20).
The initial cost-cutting plan called for the county to expand contracts with private, not-for-profit clinics to provide medical services to uninsured patients, as well as to close all six of the county's comprehensive outpatient health centers and 11 of 12 county clinics (California Healthline, 2/15).
Bruce Chernof, the county director of health services, said that he asked county hospitals to find $60 million in savings and that he planned to cut $20 million in administrative costs. The board also voted to hire independent experts to analyze the potential effect of reducing the county's role in primary care, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 2/20).