HOSPITAL ALLIES MOBILIZE A.V.LEADERS SAY BUDGET CUTS WOULD TRIGGER HEALTH CRISIS.Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer
LANCASTER - Antelope Valley This article is about the Los Angeles County region. For the census-designated place in Wyoming, see Antelope Valley-Crestview, Wyoming.
The Antelope Valley civic leaders rallied Tuesday in support of High Desert Hospital, which for the third time in seven years is under threat of closure because of proposed health care cuts in the Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County budget.
Members of the High Desert Hospital Advisory Council and local politicians and physicians said a health care crisis would ensue if High Desert Hospital were shuttered.
``We have an acute shortage of beds in the Antelope Valley. The emergency rooms are crowded, and there are delays to be admitted - by several hours to days at times,'' Dr. P.N. Varma said at a morning press conference in front of Lancaster City Hall. ``Closing High Desert Hospital will create an acute crisis.''
The advisory council will sponsor a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Lancaster City Hall, 44933 Fern Ave., to discuss the health care cuts and the potential impact to the community of closing High Desert Hospital.
``We are asking the entire community to be here on behalf of keeping High Desert Hospital open,'' Lancaster Vice Mayor Henry Hearns said. ``The only thing that will make it work is if people in the community speak up and say, no, this is not going to happen.''
Confronted by the loss of hundreds of millions in state and federal government funds, Los Angeles county officials have proposed three scenarios to scale back services to the county's 10 million residents. All three call for either closing High Desert or converting it to an outpatient facility.
The county Board of Supervisors The examples and perspective in this article or section may represent an unduly geographically limited view of the subject.
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The Board of Supervisors is the body governing counties in the U.S. will discuss the proposed cuts at a meeting June 26. Hearns said local civic leaders will make buses available to take Antelope Valley residents to the meeting in downtown Los Angeles Downtown Los Angeles is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, located close to the geographic center of the metropolitan area. The sprawling, multi-centered megacity is such that its downtown core is often considered just another district like Hollywood or .
County supervisors voted in March to reduce inpatient services at High Desert and to close four health clinics, including ones in Burbank and North Hills, that serve an average of 1,080 people a month.
Donna Termeer, a field representative for Assemblyman George Runner George C. Runner, Jr. (born March 25 1952 in Scotia, New York) is a Republican California State Senator, who represents the 17th Senate District, which includes portions of Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County and Ventura County. , R-Lancaster, read a letter from Runner and state Sen. W.J. ``Pete'' Knight, R-Palmdale, to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich Michael Dennis Antonovich (born 1939 in Los Angeles, California) is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing the Fifth District, which covers northern Los Angeles County, the Antelope, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, and parts of the San Fernando and San that stated their opposition to closing High Desert.
``The Antelope Valley is home to almost 350,000 people; the closure of one of the remaining three hospitals in our region would be devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. , inhumane in·hu·mane
Lacking pity or compassion.
inhu·manely adv. and totally unacceptable,'' Termeer said.
In their joint letter, the two legislators urged county supervisors to ensure that the entire county shares in the cuts. ``These reductions should reflect equal parity of sacrifice, spread throughout the Los Angeles health care system, and should not be placed on the backs of displaced, low-income or medically indigent indigent 1) n. a person so poor and needy that he/she cannot provide the necessities of life (food, clothing, decent shelter) for himself/herself. 2) n. one without sufficient income to afford a lawyer for defense in a criminal case. residents of Los Angeles County, specifically in the Antelope Valley region,'' Termeer said.
Norm Hickling, assistant administrator for business development for a private physicians group, the High Desert Medical Group, said High Desert Hospital is one of three cornerstones of the Antelope Valley's health care system; the others, he said, are Antelope Valley Hospital and Lancaster Community Hospital This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. Alone, primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject of this article are not sufficient for an accurate encyclopedia article. .
``If you take that cornerstone away, the foundation of the health care system will crumble,'' said Hickling.
Officials noted that the emergency rooms at both Antelope Valley Hospital and Lancaster Community are among the busiest in the county, and said the region has three of the five busiest paramedics units in the Los Angeles County Fire Department Not to be confused with Los Angeles Fire Department.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD), serves unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, as well as 58 cities and towns that choose to have the county provide fire and EMS services, including the City of La .
``We have paramedics having to wait for hours and hours to get patients into the emergency room. If you think that's bad, just wait for the future. If High Desert closes, it will be many times worse,'' said Joe Davies, a former Palmdale city councilman.
Among the three options being considered by the county Department of Health Services Department of Health Services may refer to:
Harbor-UCLA serves as the Level I Trauma Center for the South Bay area. in Torrance, as well as all public health centers and smaller clinics, while cutting ambulatory-care visits by 72 percent: from 3 million to 870,100 a year.
A second scenario would convert High Desert, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center Olive View-UCLA Medical Center is a hospital located in the Sylmar neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. The hospital was founded on October 27, 1920, and is funded by Los Angeles County . in Sylmar and Harbor in Torrance to outpatient facilities, close dozens of health centers and clinics, and reduce ambulatory-care visits by 49 percent: from 3 million to 1.6 million.
A third option would convert High Desert to an outpatient facility, privatize Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center is a rehabilitation hospital located in Downey, California, United States. History
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, or Rancho in Downey and close many of the centers and clinics.
More than 5,000 workers could be laid off in the next few years, depending on the cuts that are made. The proposed cuts, if approved, are expected to begin in October.
County-run hospitals and clinics face severe cuts because of a $365 million deficit projected for fiscal 2003-04, deepening to a $688 million deficit by 2005-06 as federal bailout funds run out.
In addition, proposed state and federal budget cuts pose a $114 million-a-year loss to public and private hospitals paid in the Medi-Cal program to serve the county's 3 million indigent and uninsured residents.
The Board of Supervisors voted in December to order a study of whether an emergency room is needed at High Desert Hospital. County officials said that in 2001, the emergency rooms at Antelope Valley Hospital and Lancaster Community Hospital had to divert patients elsewhere 40 percent of the time because of rising numbers of patients and long waiting times.
High Desert Hospital at Lancaster would be closed or converted to an outpatient facility under county budget proposals.
Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer