Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Continues To Delay Health System Reform
Despite at least 12 reports over the past 10 years that analyzed alternative public health care systems in Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors says it does not have enough information to determine whether reforms are needed, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Since 1995, when the health care system faced a $655 million budget shortfall, reports have recommended the creation of an independent health authority, which would be run by a panel of health experts rather than the Board of Supervisors.
However, the idea "has languished for a decade as the five supervisors cycled through reports and task forces instead of tackling a reform that might require them to surrender power," the Times reports.
According to the Times, some health experts "worry that the board's decade of inaction may seriously handicap the search for a new health director," after Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Thomas Garthwaite announced his resignation last month.
Supervisors say they must focus on other issues before addressing systemwide reforms, such as problems at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center and a projected $127 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2006-2007 (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 12/18).