Senate Health Committee Examines UC-Irvine Problems
Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) after a Senate Health Committee hearing on Monday said she will examine ways to cut nonpatient funding from the University of California-Irvine Medical Center unless management improvements are made at the hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports.
At the hearing, the health committee criticized UCI officials over problems in the medical center's shuttered liver transplant program and what committee members said was a lack of accountability regarding other recent problems (Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 5/23). Since November 2005, the hospital has disclosed problems in its liver, kidney and bone-marrow transplant programs, and its cardiologists' credentials have been questioned, among other issues (California Healthline, 5/3).
Senators questioned whether UCI is doing enough to address the problems, which they said have continued despite previous reform efforts.
Ortiz said that linking UCI's budget with reforms would "give us confidence they are going to put in place a line of communication that holds someone responsible." Ortiz also said she would use recommendations from a panel of experts, who suggested establishing clearer chains of command and strengthening oversight.
UCI Chancellor Michael Drake acknowledged the problems but said steps have been taken to address the issues, including the creation of a vice chancellor's position to oversee the medical center and medical school and rescinding some managers' oversight responsibilities (Los Angeles Times, 5/23).