UNINSURED: L.A. County Officials Say Problems Worse Than Thought
Los Angeles County health officials said yesterday that the rate of uninsured in the Long Beach-South Bay area "is far greater than the county's estimate." With an "estimated 1.2 million uninsured people" in the area, health officials met yesterday to "revamp a health care system that has historically been more heavily reliant on expensive hospital care than on out-patient services." The Long Beach Press- Telegram reports that the 30 to 40 health care providers at yesterday's meeting "had a long list of diverse suggestions, but one unifying factor" was everyone's contention that more money is needed. Mark Finucane, director of the county's health department, noted that "$40 million in federal money is available to the county for restructuring the health care system." He is proposing a plan that would "use an additional $10.5 million the department recently received from a lawsuit settlement and another $8 million in state money for expansion of out-patient, or ambulatory, health care facilities." Local doctors, nurses and other health care providers gave county health officials "an earful" of suggestions for the county's health care system. Officials will incorporate the recommendations from yesterday's meeting and seven others in a report due Nov. 1 to the County Board of Supervisors that "will help set spending priorities" for the department's 1998-99 budget (Heald, 9/23).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.