Los Angeles County Supervisors Order Commission to Study Options for Public Authority to Run Health Department
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors yesterday voted to form a commission to study a proposal that would cede control of the county Department of Health Services to a "separate public authority," the Los Angeles Times reports. Moving control of the department has been an issue for the past six years, when it was first suggested by a citizens' commission. But a projected $884 million deficit in four years has experts now calling such a change "critical" to securing further state and federal aid (Riccardi, Los Angeles Times, 9/5). Currently, the health department, which provides care for Los Angeles County's roughly three million uninsured residents through its numerous clinics and six public hospitals, reports to the five-member Board of Supervisors and as a result is a "highly politicized institution" (California Healthline, 9/4). The commission will study the issue, hold public hearings and present its findings to the board in December. The Times reports that options include creating a "semi-public" not-for-profit organization to manage the health department, placing authority with a board of medical experts, creating a similar panel that reports to supervisors or creating a new hospital district (Los Angeles Times, 9/5).