Los Angeles County Supervisors Agree Not To Close Rancho Los Amigos
Los Angeles County Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously agreed to a deal with patients' rights groups to keep the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center open under county control for at least the next three years while it searches for a private contractor to run the facility, the Los Angeles Times reports.
County supervisors in 2003 voted to close Rancho Los Amigos and eliminate 100 of the 745 beds at County-USC Medical Center as part of a plan to save an estimated $75 million annually (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
However, in April 2004, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling prohibiting the county from eliminating the hospital beds and other services at County-USC, and the court upheld its own ruling preventing the closure of Los Ranchos Amigos (California Healthline, 4/28/2004).
Under the terms of Tuesday's agreement, the county would eliminate 25 of County-USC's 745 beds. The county would be allowed to eliminate an additional 35 beds each time the hospital reduces patients' average length of stay by 0.3 days.
At County-USC, the agreement would require the county to maintain at least 50 beds for psychiatric patients and open an outpatient clinic within six months to treat patients who do not need emergency department services. Also included in the agreement, County-USC ED patients must be admitted or treated within seven hours.
The county would save an estimated $61 million over four years under the agreement, which must be approved by a federal judge. The county also agreed to pay $451,000 in attorneys' fees related to the case (Los Angeles Times, 8/10).