Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Delays Vote To Close Hospitals
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors yesterday decided to delay a vote scheduled for today on whether to convert Olive View-UCLA and Harbor-UCLA medical centers to outpatient facilities to help cover a budget deficit in the county's health care system, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein/Krikorian, Los Angeles Times, 10/29). The system faces an estimated $750 million budget deficit by 2005, and county officials planned to vote today on whether to close the medical centers, as well as dozens of public health clinics, to balance the budget. The county received a $1.2 billion federal bailout in 1995 and an extension of the funds in 2000, but the bailout funds expire in 2005. Supervisors last week said that they could not delay the vote without a commitment for additional funds from the state or federal government (California Healthline, 10/24). However, supervisors "backed off amid unwavering criticism from other politicians, medical groups and patient advocates" and rescheduled the vote for Nov. 19, the Times reports. Gov. Gray Davis (D) and CMS Administrator Tom Scully had asked the board to postpone the vote. Scully plans to meet with county officials on Nov. 6 -- the day after county voters consider a ballot measure that would raise property taxes to fund the county's trauma care centers and emergency rooms -- to discuss "possible financial assistance," the Times reports. Davis said that he plans to decide next month whether to call a special session of the Legislature to discuss the county's budget problems. Supervisors today will consider recommendations from the county Department of Health Services to reduce the number of beds at County-USC Medical Center from 745 to 695 and to close Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey (Los Angeles Times, 10/29).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.