Start-Up Costs for New County-USC Medical Center Could Add $240 Million
Start-up costs for building the new Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, which is scheduled to open in 2007, could add as much as $240.5 million to the cost of the hospital -- already expected to total more than $800 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The costs include up to $100 million for the medical records system, $105.2 million for furnishings and $35 million to move from the old hospital to the new facility. However, the county does not have the necessary funds to build and furnish the "much-needed facility while maintaining a vast health care network," according to the Times. An interest-bearing account for start-up costs was created by supervisors in 1998, but the account is still empty, Sheila Shima, the health budget manager for the county chief administrative office, said. On Aug. 12, David Janssen, county chief administrative officer, sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors outlining three potential sources of funding for start-up costs -- two of which involve borrowing money and using tobacco settlement money not allocated to other programs. The third option calls for the start-up costs to be covered by the "recently discovered" $105 million surplus from 2002's health budget, the Times reports. However, health care advocates say that the budget surplus money should be spent on health care programs instead of start-up costs, according to the Times. Supervisors are expected to vote this month whether to use the surplus for start-up costs for the new County-USC Medical Center (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 9/1).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.