LOS ANGELES COUNTY: May Cut Hospital Beds in Shift to Outpatient Care
In a bid to address a looming budget shortfall and expand outpatient services and public health, the Los Angeles County Health Department has requested that the county shift some hospital services to outpatient facilities and trim hospital beds by 10% next year. The Los Angeles Times reports that the proposal to save $5 million would cut beds in all public hospitals except Harbor/UCLA, but "is in keeping with the department's effort to shift from expensive hospital care to preventive medicine" and federal requirements to reduce county "reliance on hospitals." County Supervisor Gloria Molina said, "I can't believe they're going to let this stand. At this point in time, I think we've realized our worst nightmare: that people are going to go without medical care." Health Director Mark Finucane said the cuts are "a last resort" but necessary because the county is $27 million short in state tobacco tax revenue. He also argued that patients would not go without care because they would be treated at other facilities, including expanded outpatient facilities (Riccardi, 2/19).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.