Los Angeles County Officials Unveil FY 2002-2003 Budget Proposal; Reductions in Health Services Planned
Los Angeles County officials yesterday released their fiscal year 2002-2003 budget proposal, which includes a number of planned reductions in health services, the Los Angeles Times reports (Larrubia/Therolf, Los Angeles Times, 4/16). The $16.3 billion proposal includes a $205 million reduction for a number of county departments, including several that provide health services, and would eliminate 2,342 positions (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/16). The Department of Public Social Services faces a proposed reduction in substance abuse and mental health services and the elimination of 2,086 positions. The Department of Mental Health plans to reduce prescription drug and state hospital bed costs by $23.4 million, increase revenues from Medi-Cal and private health insurers by $16.8 million and reduce community outreach programs and services for low-income residents by $32.9 million to cover an estimated $73.1 million budget deficit. County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen, who presented the proposal yesterday to the county Board of Supervisors, said that proposed reductions in the state budget -- such as an $11.2 million reduction in Disproportionate Share Hospitals revenue and the elimination of $6.8 million in trauma care funds -- contributed to the county cuts (Los Angeles County release, 4/15). The proposal does not include reductions intended to balance the budget of the county Department of Health Services, which in 2005 will face an estimated $688 million deficit after the expiration of a Medi-Cal waiver allowing the county to bill at a higher rate for outpatient services (Los Angeles Times, 4/16). County Health Director Thomas Garthwaite will release a separate budget proposal for the department in June.
The proposal includes increases for some health-related areas. The county Department of Children and Family Services, for example, would receive an additional $34.5 million and 42 employees to process information on public health and other programs as a result of increased funds from the federal government and the state. In addition, the proposal offers $86.8 million for the seismic retrofitting of county hospitals, the development of a new inpatient facility at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey and construction of the new Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. County supervisors will hold hearings on the proposal in May and decide whether to approve the plan in June (Los Angeles County release, 4/15). The budget proposal and additional information about the plan are available online.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.