Los Angeles County Officials Informally Agree To Cap Medi-Cal Patient Load at Inpatient Psychiatric Unit
Los Angeles County officials on Tuesday informally agreed to limit to one or two at a time the number of Medi-Cal beneficiaries at Northridge Hospital Medical Center's 11-bed psychiatric unit for teenagers, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 4/7). In response to the agreement, hospital officials rescinded a plan to close the unit, which is the San Fernando Valley's only adolescent psychiatric inpatient program. The hospital had said it would close the program, which serves nearly 400 teens a year, because the cost of providing psychiatric care is not fully covered by Medi-Cal and could "spell financial ruin for the hospital," the Los Angeles Daily News reports. According to Northridge Medical Director Maurice Zeitlin, a Medi-Cal contract would overflow the 11-bed unit "with patients for whom the reimbursement rates fall short of the actual cost of treatment," the Daily News reports. Officials said that a closure of the facility could have limited the availability of mental health treatment services for teenagers in the San Fernando, Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys, following the closure last year of Pine Grove Hospital, a psychiatric facility for adolescents (Radcliffe, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/5).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.