San Francisco Chronicle Examines Financial Problems at Public Hospitals
The San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday examined the "serious financial trouble" facing the state's 26 public hospitals, a problem that could force the facilities to continue to reduce services for patients. The Chronicle profiled Alameda County Medical Center, which, like other public hospitals in the state, is "caught in a crunch between rising costs, more people who can't pay for their health care and lower state and federal repayment." Alameda County Medical last year closed two community health clinics and may have to make additional service reductions if county voters reject a measure on the March 2 ballot that would provide funds for the hospital (DelVecchio, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/15). Measure A would increase the current 8.25% county sales tax to 8.75% and would raise an estimated $90 million per year for ACMC and other county health programs (California Healthline, 1/21). Alameda County Medical would receive 75% of the funds raised under the measure. According to the Chronicle, the hospital also must reduce costs, more effectively collect bills from patients with health insurance and find a source of funds independent of the county budget. Alameda County Medical has hired consulting company Cambio Health Solutions to develop proposals to help the hospital "cut waste and fix long-term management problems," the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/15).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.