Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Some Good News
Disaster averted, if only temporarily:
Los Angeles County Supervisors have decided to delay a vote on closing two more medical centers, although the health care system remains in grave fiscal shape. KFWB's Steve Kindred reports there are signs of hope for the ailing health system and other solutions to the crisis may emerge in the three weeks before the next vote. A property tax hike goes before voters on Nov. 5, and federal involvement or a special legislative session dealing specifically with the issue are still a possibility.
The board has already shut down nine of the county's 18 health clinics to trim the budget. The budget deficit is due largely to a phase-out of federal funding. Officials had planned to vote Tuesday on closing Harbor-UCLA and Olive View-UCLA, the largest trauma center in the San Fernando Valley. However, there was mounting political pressure to hold off on further cuts.
Lawmakers say they are holding out hope for the passage of Measure B on the Nov. 5 ballot. Board Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky believes voters will approve the measure, which would increase property taxes by $168 million to provide funds for trauma care. Also, the president's envoy on health care will have visited Harbor-UCLA on a fact-finding mission by the time the board takes up the issue again on Nov. 19.
Well, we'll see. If Olive View and UCLA-Harbor are shut down, we'll be in deep trouble - and that means anybody who's in a automobile accident, who gets shot or knifed, who falls off the roof while doing home repairs, or who has any other sort of bad luck. Other information relating to the proposed health care system cuts is here in the L.A. Times (use password and keyword "laexaminer" if you can't access it) and an article explaining the problems the trauma system, in particular, faces is here. It's amazing to me that there has been relatively little attention paid to this issue, but if B does not pass it will probably get a lot more - after the county winds up in crisis. Cross your fingers.