San Diego County Supervisors Commission Study To Assess Health Care Facilities’ Ability To Serve Indigent Patients
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to commission a study to assess the ability of local hospitals, trauma centers, emergency departments and outpatient facilities to care for low-income patients over the next 20 years, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The county expects to spend as much as $400,000 for the study, using funds from the tobacco settlement.
The study is motivated in part by an announcement in February by the University of California-San Diego that it might move acute and trauma care from its Hillcrest campus to its Thornton Hospital in La Jolla by 2025. UCSD currently provides care to a large portion of the county's uninsured and underinsured patients, primarily at its Hillcrest campus.
County supervisors are concerned that the relocation could cause an increase in uninsured patients seeking care at hospitals near UCSD's Hillcrest campus.
Supervisor Ron Roberts said there is "little issue that (the plan) probably is in the best interests of UCSD. But it raises questions about whether it's in the best interests of the county."
Vivian Resnick, a UCSD pediatrician, told the supervisors that university favors the county study. She said that the university's plan includes serving "the same patient base as today, with no plans to expand and no plans to contract" (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/23).