Two Counties Act on Health Care Issues
Santa Clara County supervisors on Tuesday approved "in concept" budget reductions for every department in fiscal year 2007-2008 to close a projected $201 million deficit, the Gilroy Dispatch reports.
Among the reductions affecting the health care sector:
- Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, the county hospital, is asked to make cuts totaling $35.7 million;
- The county mental health department is asked to reduce its budget by $33.9 million;
- Community outreach services will be eliminated to save $6.7 million; and
- The county Public Health Department budget faces cuts of $22.6 million.
Kutras said he plans to submit in October a more detailed financial analysis that includes a five-year forecast (Burchyns, Gilroy Dispatch, 9/13).
Ventura County officials on Tuesday will recommend that the county Board of Supervisors contract with Health Net for its employee health plans, after Kaiser Permanente did not reach a long-term agreement with the county hospital, the Ventura County Star reports.
Health Net made a formal bid to provide health coverage with monthly insurance premiums of $681.31 per employee. Kaiser informally proposed monthly premiums of $537.33 per employee, but county officials were concerned that Kaiser had not contracted with a full-service hospital in the area.
Kaiser's bid was informal because it was made after the deadline for submission. The HMO decided to bid after it purchased the Buenaventura Medical Group in July.
According to Kaiser spokesperson Jim Anderson, "we realized that there were many Buenaventura patients who were going to be affected and asked if we could submit a bid, and were told that we could." As a condition of the county's acceptance of the bid, Kaiser must negotiate with the county hospital, Anderson said.
The county has indicated the possibility of contracting with Kaiser in 2008 and beyond, the Star reports (Hoops, Ventura County Star, 9/15).