SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY: Threatened General Hospital May Have $2.8M Budget Shortfall
Advocates for San Luis Obispo's General Hospital are questioning the timing of a new report stating the county will need to shell out an additional $2.8 million to continue to provide services at the facility and at the county's two primary care clinics. The news comes as the county Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Tuesday whether to rescind its November decision to close the financially troubled facility. County Health Agency Director Susan Zepeda said the board will be asked to increase its contribution to General Hospital which needs more funds because of fewer paying patients and higher-than-expected supply costs. The San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune reports that Paul Roller, general manager of the San Luis Obispo County Employees Association, called the report "suspicious," noting that the county "made a similar claim last year but wound up over-estimating the budget shortfall by more than $1 million." He added that the report, prepared by health care consulting firm McBee and Associates, "is based on studies tilted in favor of hospital closure." But Supervisor Mike Ryan, who has advocated shuttering General, said the timing was "coincidental" and it was "appropriate information for the board to consider now." The Telegram-Tribune reports that new Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, who was briefed yesterday by Medical Services Department officials on the budget report, "has the deciding vote on the future of the county's health care system" as the other four supervisors are evenly split over what to do with the hospital (Hurly, 1/21). Click here for previous coverage.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.