The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to address the issue of a replacement facility for County-USC in the coming months, but awaits a further study looking at operating expenses for various replacement facilities being considered.

Salick keeps growing

Dr. Bernard Salick has hired another top gun to help staff his nascent Bentley Health Care Inc., signing up former Cedars-Sinai Medical Center chief financial officer Joseph Luevanos.

Luevanos will hold the same position at Bentley, the company Salick founded in April after being ousted from the chain of cancer and kidney disease treatment centers he founded in the 1980s. When the British pharmaceutical firm Zeneca Group PLC bought the remaining half of Salick Health Care it didn't already own, the company fired Salick from his post as CEO.

The hiring of Luevanos, who served as Cedars-Sinai CFO since 1982, comes on the heels of several other high-profile staffing announcements. Salick first attracted Ron Wise, former spokesman for Cedars-Sinai. Then in quick succession he announced the hiring of Luc Montagnier co-discoverer of the AIDS virus to head a molecular biology institute he was helping fund in New York, and AIDS researcher/Time magazine man of the year David Ho, to serve as Bentley's top AIDS advisor.

Bentley Health Care aims to open a string of AIDS treatment centers, along with centers to treat kidney disease and other catastrophic illnesses, much the way Salick Health Care targeted cancer.

Salick described Luevanos as "one of the most knowledgeable and effective financial executives in health care." Those qualities will be key as Bentley seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in backing for the venture.

L.A. youth at risk

Data compiled by Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles paints a grim picture of the health of local youth.

The data, contained in the hospital's recently released study "Applied Health Research with Children, Youth and Families," found:

- Violence is the leading cause of death among Angelenos aged 11-18.

- L.A. is home to about 5,000 homeless adolescents.

- 85 percent of those homeless youth have some symptoms of mental illness, and an estimated one-third of have been sexually abused.

The study is aimed at identifying factors that lead to death among the county's children and adolescents and at devising more effective intervention programs.

"Those in the trenches physicians, public agencies and funders have learned that most existing programs don't work well enough," said Michelle Kipke, who oversaw the study.

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