Private-Partner Clinics Could Help Los Angeles County Provide Care for Uninsured, Times Says
Noting that partnerships between Los Angeles County and private, not-for-profit clinics "have been one of the few good things to come from the county's health care funding crisis," a Los Angeles Times editorial argues that "there aren't enough of the clinics" to help provide services to the county's three million uninsured residents. Since 1995, the county has twice been rescued from bankruptcy by a federal waiver of Medicaid rules that allows the county to receive Medicaid reimbursement for treating patients in outpatient clinics rather than in hospitals, and the editorial maintains that these private-partner clinics "have distinct advantages" in providing care for the uninsured. The editorial says that such clinics "can supplement county funds with grants" and are "less cumbersome and bureaucratic" than county-run facilities. Although the county now has more than 100 private-partner clinics, the editorial says that "it's still not enough to meet the overwhelming need." Commenting on the county Board of Supervisors proposal last week to place the cash-strapped county health department under an independent health authority, the editorial says that skeptics of the plan "argue that the county's health care crisis is about money, not governance." However, the editorial concludes, "Yes, it takes money to open more clinics ... [b]ut to respond to a crisis of this magnitude also takes new thinking and quick acting, not micromanaging by the ever-political Board of Supervisors. Partnering with private clinics was a good start. It's also a good lesson in what a little independence can accomplish" (Los Angeles Times, 7/15).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.