VENTURA COUNTY: Board Votes To Dismantle Superagency
Fearing a loss of millions of dollars in federal reimbursements, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to "dismantle" the county's 10-month-old Human Services Agency. Federal officials warned the county Monday that the April merger of its Behavioral Health Department and Public Social Services Agency rendered the county "ineligible for annual Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, which can add up to $15 million a year," because it severed the "direct line of authority" between Ventura County Medical Center and doctors in the mental health unit (see yesterday's CHL). The vote specifically restores the county's Health Care Agency and Behavioral Health Department as they were before the merger, authorizes Chief Administrative Officer Lin Koester to "report back to officials at the Health Care Financing Administration regarding the board's decision," research "the possibility of a different sort of merger, which would transfer only non-hospital and nonmedical services to the" agency, and report the findings of the research to the board "in about six months" (Johnson, Los Angeles Times, 12/23).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.