Plan To Cut Beds at L.A. County Hospital Draws Threat of Legal Action
Los Angeles County officials are looking to cut 70 beds at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, but public interest lawyers said they could file complaints that the bed reduction violates their settlement from a previous lawsuit in 2003, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports.
County officials issued a formal notice of the bed reduction plan on April 10. The medical center plans to downsize before moving to a smaller facility this summer, the Daily Journal reports.
County officials said the reduction of patient beds is justified because they have met the benchmarks of a 2005 settlement that allow them to downsize. Under the settlement, the county can cut 35 beds at County-USC every time the average length of a patient's stay decreases by 0.3 days and remains at that benchmark for 90 days.
The settlement in 2005 placed a four-year ban on bed reductions at County-USC until the benchmarks on average patient stay and waiting times were met.
This week, attorneys who also sued the county in 2003 said they could file a new motion in the case or launch a new lawsuit.
Barbara Siegel, a managing attorney for Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, said that the group is not trying to prevent the medical center from moving with litigation but that it wants the court to interpret the settlement (George, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 4/24).