Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Votes To Close Rancho Los Amigos Center, Reduce Beds at County-USC
To help cover a budget deficit in Los Angeles County's health department, the Board of Supervisors yesterday voted 4-1 to close Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey and cut the number of beds at County-USC Medical Center from 745 to 695, the Los Angeles Times reports. The board expects the Rancho Los Amigos closure, scheduled for June, to save the county $58.6 million next year and $65 million to $70 million in future years and the County-USC bed reduction to save $16.1 million annually (Ornstein/Richardson, Los Angeles Times, 10/30). The county health system faces an estimated $750 million budget deficit by 2005, when money from the extension of a federal bailout is expected to expire (California Healthline, 10/29). Rancho Los Amigos, which has 207 beds and 1,400 employees, provided "highly specialized" rehabilitation services to 2,600 inpatients and 8,700 outpatients last year, the Times reports. While Supervisor Gloria Molina said yesterday's vote was the "beginning of painful decisions all around," Supervisor Don Knabe, who opposed the cuts, said the proposal was "made too hastily and without enough information," according to the Times. Other opponents of the cuts criticized the board for not informing them of the impending vote early enough. In addition to the cuts, the board yesterday voted to hire an independent consultant to report on the county health department's fiscal analysis of Rancho Los Amigos within 45 days. If that report confirms the analysis' findings, the supervisors will finalize the facility's closure with a vote in January. As expected, the board delayed until Nov. 19 a vote on whether to convert Olive View-UCLA and Harbor-UCLA medical centers to outpatient facilities (Los Angeles Times, 10/30).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.