With Los Angeles County’s public health system expected to hit a $66 million shortfall on July 1, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed the department’s new acting director to come up with a deficit management plan by March 21. The health department’s deficit is expected to grow to $1.1 billion by fiscal 2009-10. “With a pending $1.1 billion dollar shortfall, it is fiscally irresponsible to delay restructuring programs and services within the department,” Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said. “Only through proactive reform can this department prevent having to employ a slash-and-burn approach. The department has struggled with a mounting deficit since 1995, and the ‘soft landing’ plan touted at that time has turned into a free fall.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Dr. Bruce Chernof, who took over the Department of Health Services when Dr. Thomas Garthwaite resigned in November, said he needs a few months to develop plans on how to reduce expenses and balance his $5.5 billion budget. “We are committed to coming forward with a balanced budget,” Chernof said. “An important element is to revisit work the department did in 2002, looking at strategic efficiencies, programic consolidations and other programic opportunities to make us more efficient with the resources we have.” In the next few months, officials plan to review the extensive list of medical procedures the department performs at its various hospitals and determine which ones can be consolidated to reduce costs. But Antonovich said the department has had years to cut services and is now threatening once again to bankrupt the entire county. “To put this board in the position of a slash-and-burn approach is not responsible and represents the failure of the department to do its job,” Antonovich said. The county’s health system nearly pushed the entire county into bankruptcy in 1995 when it faced a similar deficit. At the time, the federal government stepped in with a $1.2 billion bailout that required the county to shift its focus from inpatient hospital care to a system that emphasized community-based, outpatient primary and preventive care. As a result, the health department funded a network of more than 100 health clinics. In 2000, the federal government provided an additional $900 million, which ran out June 30. In 2003, the county proposed closing Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey and cutting 100 beds at County/USC Medical Center, but was blocked by the settlement of two lawsuits. As a result of pending deficits, health experts say the supervisors will be forced to reduce services or close hospitals and clinics if the deficit cannot be mitigated – actions that would have a ripple effect throughout the private health care system and would significantly compromise care to the uninsured. Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said he already can tell a major change in the 27-year-old’s demeanor. “When he’s happy with himself and he’s contributing,” Sampson said, “it’s only going to help his confidence.” It also will help the Galaxy, the 2001 Open Cup winners who will take on a team that beat them 1-0 in last year’s quarterfinals. Minnesota has eliminated three Major League Soccer teams in this year’s competition — Real Salt Lake, Colorado and defending Cup champion Kansas City — and is attempting to become the first non-MLS team since Rochester in 1999 to win the Cup. Ramirez said the importance of tonight’s game has not been lost on the players or coaches this week. “This team has really had an up-and-down season,” he said, “and we understand that. To put ourselves in position where we are right now, on a high note, and continue to play at a high level and compete for a spot in the final is a big motivator for us right now.” Kickoff is at 8. “Now I have much more confidence,” he said after practice this week. “I’ll play differently on the field. Thankfully, this goal did come and hopefully, many more are on their way.” “We’ve had excuses for part of the year, but we don’t have excuses now,” Landon Donovan remarked. “This is a game we need to win, period.” Sampson said the Galaxy has plenty of respect for the Thunder, which plays in the United Soccer League’s first division. “I’ll tell you how much we respect them,” he said. “We’re going to field our very best team, and we know we have to put forth a very good effort. That’s how serious we’re taking this. Minnesota, on any given day, can beat any MLS team. “We know that. We just don’t want it to happen on Wednesday.” — Larry Morgan can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2272, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CARSON — Galaxy midfielder Guillermo Ramirez goes by the nickname “Pando,” which roughly translates into “Bow-legged.” Former Los Angeles standout Mauricio Cienfuegos, however, said it’s more like “bad luck” in nearby El Salvador. That could help explain Ramirez’s fortunes this season until last Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rapids. Ramirez, the captain of the Guatemalan national team, had just one assist in 19 previous games before he converted a penalty kick to close out the scoring in a 4-1 victory over the Rapids. It’s understandable, then, that Ramirez feels good about himself heading into tonight’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal match against the Minnesota Thunder at Home Depot Center.