Los Angeles, Riverside County Supervisors Address Health Care Measures
Boards of supervisors in Los Angeles and Riverside counties on Tuesday took action on two health care measures. Summaries appear below.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the concept of splitting the Department of Health Services into one unit that would address public health functions and a separate unit that would administer the county hospital system, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Officials "expressed fear" that a projected $1 billion budget deficit in the department's budget in the next three years "could force cuts in public health services unless the two were split," the Times reports. Supervisors hope the split would "protect the public health budget from the hospitals' problems," according to the Times.
Earlier this month, a county grand jury issued a report describing the differences in the missions of the public health and hospital systems (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 6/29). According to the report, a split would foster an increased focus on public health initiatives such as immunizing children, treating sexually transmitted diseases, inspecting restaurants and investigating disease outbreaks (California Healthline, 6/17).
Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said the split could be completed by October.
In other action, supervisors "clashed" over what steps to take to address continuing reports of medical errors and other problems at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 6/29). The board is considering outsourcing King/Drew to a private company after two years of attempts to correct problems in patient care and management (California Healthline, 6/28).
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance that would require consumers who buy cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine or similar compounds used in the production of methamphetamine to provide their names, addresses, telephone numbers and driver's license numbers, the Times reports.
Under the ordinance, stores would be required to keep a log of the information, which would be available to law enforcement officials for three years. Retailers who do not comply with the ordinance could be fined as much as $1,000. Consumers who buy the medications, which include Sudafed and Nyquil, would not be penalized if retailers fail to comply. The ordinance will take effect in the next 30 days if it receives final approval.
Riverside County is considered "a major center of meth traffic" in the state, the Times reports (Ramos/Becerra, Los Angeles Times, 6/29).