Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center Cannot Account for Workday Whereabouts of Physicians, County Audit Finds
The 745-bed Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center cannot account for the workday whereabouts of about 12% of physicians hired under a $70 million contract, according to a required county audit released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The contract requires the University of California to provide about 435 physicians and 75 nonphysician staff members to County-USC for patient care and to train medical residents, but the hospital "does not systematically monitor whether physicians are complying with the work schedules," according to the audit issued by county Auditor-Controller J. Tyler McCauley. The audit, conducted over two- and three-month periods over three years at County-USC and the Claude Hudson Comprehensive Health Center, found that auditors were "unable to locate" 7% to 15% of physicians at the hospital at any specific time. Under the contract, USC must provide work schedules that provide information on when the physicians will provide patient care or train residents. The audit found that USC provided some work schedules that included weekly lists of physicians scheduled to work but did not include specific dates and times on the whereabouts of individual physicians. In addition, the audit found that "there was no consistent format used" for the work schedules, and that they "sometimes were produced late, after the month they applied to had already begun," the Times reports. Carol Mauch, associate general counsel for USC, said that the physicians provided by the university were "running around trying to save lives, not standing in place, glued to the floor," and that auditors would "walk into a room, look around and say the physician was not there, and then leave." McCauley said, "There may be reasons that some ... weren't there and there may not be reasons for others," adding, "The biggest concern is that there's not a system of accountability" (Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 11/7).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.