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Re-Engineering the Los Angeles County Public Health Care Safety Net: Recommendations from a Blue Ribbon Health Task Force

JHHSA, Vol. 27 No. 1, (2004)

Public hospitals throughout the United States are under increasing fiscal and political pressure to survive because of dynamic changes in healthcare delivery, an increasing uninsured population of patients and rapidly declining reimbursement. These safety net health care programs are also saddled with outdated and bureaucratic governmental policies and procedures which make it even more difficult to improve the quality of care and efficiency of the organization. As these pressures mount, some public hospital systems have attempted to be reinvented through the re-engineering process.

Los Angeles County, the second largest health system in the United States, has done relatively little to adjust to changing times. Los Angeles County Department of Health Services has been attempting to re-engineer for the past three years, but this has not averted the need for a second billion-dollar waiver in 2000 from the state and federal governments. A Blue Ribbon Health Task Force was appointed to examine the failure of re-engineering to restructure the Los Angeles public health delivery system. In this article, the group's findings and recommendations are reported. They cover three general areas: eliminating bureaucratic hurdles, improving healthcare planning and management of operations and setting priorities on critical investments in health services.

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