Three County Boards of Supervisors Act on Health-Related Issues
Boards of Supervisors in Sacramento, Contra Costa and Los Angeles counties on Tuesday acted on health-related issues. Summaries appear below.
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors said it would try to preserve funding for county health and social services programs by reducing spending in other departments, the Contra Costa Times reports. Facing increased public safety costs and an estimated $54 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2005-2006, the board had considered cutting funding to immunization clinics, homeless shelters, mental health screening services and other programs run by the Health Services and the Employment and Human Services departments.
Despite budget cuts in other departments, the county Health Services Department still would need to reduce spending by $14.7 million, possibly affecting a hospital pediatric unit, youth health education programs and nurse visits for women who recently gave birth.
A final budget will be approved next month (Felsenfeld, Contra Costa Times, 5/11).
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to pay an additional $1.8 million to Navigant Consulting, the company hired under a one-year, $13.2-million contract to address problems at Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/11). Navigant in March had requested an additional $3.4 million, saying problems were worse than expected (California Healthline, 3/21).
The board asked for a report from Navigant by August, adding that it would consider turning over management to another company if Navigant failed to make progress at King/Drew. The board also ordered county attorneys to file lawsuits against King/Drew doctors who were paid for time they spent in private practice when they were supposed to be at the hospital.
In addition, the board said it will give Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science four months to hire personnel and enact other reforms before deciding whether to end the county contract with the university to administer physician training programs at King/Drew (Ornstein/Felch, Los Angeles Times, 5/11).
- Creating a 24-hour emergency shelter;
- Expanding mental health services, including creating an inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit;
- Providing longer-term case-management services; and
- Initiating a public awareness campaign.
Jim Hunt, director of the county Department of Health and Human Services, said that the plan will reduce use of hospital emergency departments and 911 services, in addition to early institutionalization (Weaver Teichert, Sacramento Bee, 5/11). 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.