Los Angeles County Health Care Workers, Patients Protest Rancho Los Amigos Closure
A number of Los Angeles County health care workers and patients have launched a campaign to save the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, which county officials last month voted to close, the Los Angeles Times reports (Richardson, Los Angeles Times, 11/13). The county Board of Supervisors on Oct. 29 voted 4-1 to close Rancho Los Amigos in June to help cover an estimated $750 million budget deficit in the county health system. Supervisors estimated that the closure will save the county $58.6 million next year and $65 million to $70 million in future years. Supervisors will vote to finalize the closure in January. 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 (California Healthline, 11/4). A number of county health care workers, several independent living centers and a coalition of patients with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, diabetes and other conditions have organized teleconferences, letter campaigns and online petitions against the closure of Rancho Los Amigos. In addition, the union that represents the county's 19,000 health care workers plans to hold demonstrations at Rancho Los Amigos on Monday and a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday. Thomas Garthwaite, director of the county Department of Health Services, said, "I know many people are upset about this, and Rancho's excellence is not at all at issue. But I came with a clear mandate to solve this budget situation and prevent this kind of thing from recurring" (Los Angeles Times, 11/13).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.