Ventura County Supervisors Make ‘Hospital War’ a Priority
During their first meeting of the year, Ventura County supervisors outlined their "priorities" for 2001, including how to end the "hospital war" between the county's public and private facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports (Dirmann, Los Angeles Times, 1/10). At the heart of the feud is the debate over funding for indigent care. While the state reimburses public hospitals for the care that they provide to poor patients, private hospitals are "required to care for indigents when needed" and receive no state funding. Measure O, the ballot initiative that would have diverted the county's tobacco settlement money to private hospitals, was "overwhelmingly" defeated in the November election. After Measure O's defeat, supervisors promised to discuss plans for giving private hospitals a share of the tobacco funds. Supervisor Frank Schillo said, "We're going to each of the hospitals with some money in hand. This should help us to smooth the way to talk about the problems and how they might be resolved." While the talks could include plans for a merger or consolidation of some hospital services, Schillo added that such decisions would "have to first weigh the effects on all hospitals" (McLain, Ventura County Star, 1/9). Schillo was elected chair of the Board of Supervisors during the meeting (Los Angeles Times, 1/10).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.