Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Delays Vote To Close Harbor-UCLA, Olive View-UCLA Medical Centers
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to delay a vote until Jan. 21, 2003, on whether to convert Harbor-UCLA and Olive View-UCLA medical centers to outpatient facilities to help cover a budget deficit in the county's health system, the Copley News/Torrance Daily Breeze reports (Zahniser, Copley News/Torrance Daily Breeze, 11/14). The system faces an estimated $750 million budget deficit by 2005, and supervisors had planned to vote on Oct. 29 on whether the close the medical centers. However, they delayed the vote until November 19 to wait for the results of Measure B -- a ballot measure passed by voters on Nov. 5 that will raise property taxes to fund the county's trauma care centers and emergency rooms -- and a Nov. 6 meeting with CMS Administrator Tom Scully to discuss federal assistance (California Healthline, 10/29). Supervisors said that they delayed the vote a second time to allow the county to determine the impact of Measure B, which will provide an estimated $168 million per year for the county's health system, and to lobby for additional state and federal assistance. Supervisors said that they expect Gov. Gray Davis (D) in January to call a special session of the Legislature to address the county health system budget deficit. "What this signifies is that everyone's optimistic on the board now that we can come to a resolution," Supervisor Don Knabe said (Copley News/Torrance Daily Breeze, 11/14).
The state government offers the "best hope" for "stable, long-term financing" for the Los Angeles County health system, according to a Long Beach Press Telegram editorial. Although the passage of Measure B provides a "much-needed reprieve" for the county's trauma care centers and emergency rooms, "it is nothing close to a solution," the editorial states. The county does not have the funds to "adequately" provide health care services and will likely have to "cut vital services" to cover a budget deficit in the health system, the editorial adds. According to the editorial, Davis should call a special session of the Legislature to address the problem. The editorial concludes, "Davis must arrange the special session he spoke of, and work with the Legislature to forge a permanent solution to L.A. County's health care crisis" (Long Beach Press Telegram, 11/12).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.