Serious LA County hospital closings…

Serious LA County hospital closings planned

The LA County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to close Rancho Los Amigos, a large specialized clinic, and to cut beds at County-USC. They tabled voting on closing of Olive View and Harbor until after the Nov 5 election. If Prop B passes, these major hospitals will probably stay open. If it doesn’t pass, they will close.

Olive View and Harbor are large hospitals. Harbor has the only Level 1 trauma center in LA County. If it closes, people will die because there is no Level 1 treatment available. This is not hyperbole.

Why the closures? The County says it is going broke. In fact bankruptcy is not inconceivable.

From the LA Times

Rancho Los Amigos, built in 1888, offers highly specialized services that are not available at other county facilities. The hospital has 207 beds and a staff of more than 1,400. It treated 2,600 inpatients and 8,700 outpatients last year — stroke and diabetes patients as well as those with spinal cord and head injuries.

 Dr. Dan Lammertse, president of the American Spinal Injury Assn., said county officials are wrong if they believe they will save money by closing a rehabilitation center. The cost will merely shift to acute-care hospitals and emergency rooms.

“The public,” he said, “has the wool pulled over its eyes.”

Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill said Harbor is important to the 2.2 million residents in the South Bay. Because of the hospital’s proximity to Los Angeles International Airport and the Port of Los Angeles, it must be available in case of a major disaster.

“As the need is increasing, it is ludicrous to think that cutting back on a life-or-death facility is an answer,” O’Neill said. “To close this would be absolutely having blood on our hands.”  

 Most supervisors said Tuesday that they are prepared to vote Nov. 19 to close Harbor and Olive View –two of the county’s four full-service public hospitals — if more money is not forthcoming.

“I question whether or not we can avoid bankruptcy of the county if we keep going” without making changes,” said Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.

If you live in L.A., vote YES on Proposition B – it provides some funding for our hospitals.