Schwarzenegger Overhaul Plan Could Include Provisions for Health and Human Services Agency
A plan supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to restructure the state government could recommend consolidating entities in the Health and Human Services Agency and "attacking Medi-Cal fraud," the Los Angeles Times reports (Ingram, Los Angeles Times, 5/13). The plan, called the California Performance Review, would eliminate entire departments and consolidate others, as well as remove up to 200 state boards and commissions and 1,500 political appointees (California Healthline, 5/10). The Legislature likely will not consider the plan until next year because a group of 260 consultants and volunteer state employees did not complete work on the proposal in time to submit it to the Little Hoover Commission by April 30 (Los Angeles Times, 5/13). After the plan is completed, the 13-member Little Hoover Commission -- a state oversight panel that is legally required to review the reorganization plan -- will consider it for one month before forwarding it to the Legislature for consideration. The plan will be submitted to the Legislature under a special law that allows no amendments and requires lawmakers to approve or reject it within 60 days or it automatically would become law (California Healthline, 5/10). Billy Hamilton, a consultant who is one of the leaders of the project, estimated that it could yield savings of at least $150 million for the state but added that "we can do a lot better than that."
State investigators working on the plan have discovered a "fairly high level" of fraud in state health and welfare programs, including Medi-Cal, Hamilton said. He added, "This looks like it is going to be one of the best areas for improvement." Hamilton said his team would review solutions that other states facing similar troubles have devised, including purchasing new technologies. In addition, unnamed sources said that consolidation in HHSA would include functions related to health programs such as Medi-Cal and nursing homes, as well as entities that address licensing and regulation of health care professionals, the Times reports. Hamilton said the group would submit the plan by June 30, the original deadline set by Schwarzenegger (Los Angeles Times, 5/13).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.