SAN DIEGO: ‘Intense Bickering’ Over County’s Proposed Health Plan
Amid "intense bickering" over political and economic issues, San Diego County's "effort at health planning and expanding services for the indigent is bogging down in infighting," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The county's committee on health planning "return[ed] to the drawing board" to re-draft a proposal that was rejected because it failed to address several issues. The move made by the county Regional Healthcare Advisory Council, co-chaired by Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Ron Roberts, "indicate[s] a fight is brewing over whether the county will be able to use its health care purchasing power to secure more services for indigents." The fight stems from the recommendations of a panel of national authorities who met earlier this year and encouraged the county's private health care providers to "consolidate services," close unneeded hospitals and "use its purchasing power to get better prices for medical care." A purchasing agreement would allow the county to receive bids for services provided to individuals covered under the County Medical Services Program, a portion of the state's Medi-Cal patients and even county employees. In June, the county unanimously voted to request an outside expert to draw up plans to further the health care purchasing agreement, but the Board of Supervisors has to approve the measure before bids are sought. Although the county seeks to improve both the quality and availability of care, health care providers fear an agreement will be economically disadvantageous for them. "Some people at the table have not been honest," Jacob said yesterday, "objecting to what she said are 'delaying tactics' of private hospitals." Jacobs continued, "Changes in our health care system for the betterment of people depend on people collectively getting behind the (national panel's) recommendations" (Dalton, 8/14). Click here for CHL coverage of San Diego's proposed health plan.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.