Los Angeles County officials are considering a plan to lease beds and services from two private hospitals as a way to ease demand on whatever facility eventually replaces the aging L.A. County-USC Medical Center east of downtown.
The hospitals, California Hospital Medical Center and White Memorial Medical Center, have offered to provide up to 200 beds to the county, and the medical staff needed to maintain those beds, in exchange for payment from the county Board of Supervisors.
Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky said he will look into the hospitals’ offer and eventually bring it before the board for discussion.
Officials from the hospitals said their goal is to guarantee their organizations a voice in negotiations about what sort of facility will replace County-USC.
Public hearings began last week on how to replace the flagship county hospital, and proposals have been put forth calling for facilities ranging in size from 400 to 950 beds.
Jim Lott, vice president for policy at the Los Angeles-based Healthcare Association of Southern California, said the issue is coming to a head now because the county must keep to a timeline hammered out in 1995 as part of a federal bailout of L.A.’s health care system.
The federal plan dictates that more than 2,000 in-patient hospital beds be eliminated from the county system over a period of years.
“Tangential to that (downsizing) is the fact that we need to rebuild County-USC Medical Center,” Lott said. “So the question has now become, ‘how much of a rebuild should we do?'”
Because of the proximity of California and White Memorial to County-USC, the hospitals will inevitably be impacted by whatever decision is made, Lott said.