Los Angeles County To Eliminate Jobs at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center
The Los Angeles County public health system will eliminate 79 physician, 152 nursing and 210 administrative positions at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center by June 30 as part of a 16% budget cut over the next three years, the Los Angeles Times reports. The cuts are based on a state audit released last year that found that of the county's six public hospitals, King-Drew had a "relatively high" staff-to-patient ratio, indicating "lower than normal productivity"; the highest per-patient daily costs; and a decline in the number of children treated, according to the Times. Hospital employees yesterday staged a rally in opposition to the cuts. Physicians say that the loss of jobs would harm the quality of health care available to infants and children in an area with high teen pregnancy rates and premature birth rates. In addition, the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which represents doctors at King-Drew, may sue Los Angeles County for violation of its civil service rules or may file a federal suit alleging patient harm, the Times reports. The eliminated jobs at King-Drew could save the county as much as $30 million per year and would be among 800 layoffs throughout the county public health system (Fox, Los Angeles Times, 6/5). County Department of Health Services Director Thomas Garthwaite has said the department will likely face a $265 million budget deficit by the end of the next fiscal year. The county health system has received some financial help from the closure of 15 health clinics; plans to shut down two hospitals; the passage of Measure B, a ballot measure that will raise property taxes and provide about $140 million in additional revenue to fund the county's trauma care centers and emergency rooms; and the receipt of $150 million from the federal government in February. Garthwaite said that county officials will seek a revision in state law that would allow the county to receive more federal funds for outpatient services and a revision in Medi-Cal rules that would provide federal matching funds for some of the revenue raised from Measure B (California Healthline, 4/2).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.