UCSF STANFORD: System Agrees to State Audit
Despite previous reluctance, UCSF Stanford Health Care agreed Friday to an audit that may shed light on "why the hospital system is losing millions of dollars each month," the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. State Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) said, "Everyone put their cards on the table. I made it clear I would not commit more taxpayer money without the audit," referring to the system's request for $40 million in payments from the state Medical Assistance Commission. The audit may delay the system's tentative plans to close Mount Zion Hospital, "which UCSF Stanford managers have said is responsible for $56 million of the $60 million in losses expected this year." Officials also plan to cut 2,000 jobs systemwide. The merger, completed in 1997, included a provision, at Stanford's urging, "that the medical system would be governed by a private nonprofit corporation, allowing only partial public access to its books." State Auditor Kurt Sjoberg plans to complete the audit by the end of August (7/18).
Cutting the Apron Strings
In related news, the Los Angeles Times reports that the "UC Board of Regents on Friday decided to eliminate three of its nine meetings each year," while Gov. Gray Davis "proposed that the board relax its financial oversight" and postponed decision-making on UC employees' salaries, many of which exceed or even double the governor's income of $157,143. The move led to worries that reduced oversight will only exacerbate UC's financial woes. However, Vice Chancellor Steve Barclay said, "This loss has absolutely no connection to losses suffered by UCSF Stanford Health Care" (Weiss, 7/17).