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BOYLE HEIGHTS : Hearing on Cuts at General Hospital

June 27, 1993|MARY ANNE PEREZ

The county Board of Supervisors will conduct a hearing July 20 on proposed cuts in the health services budget that could affect indigent medical care at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

The board last week approved a preliminary budget calling for a 16% reduction among all county departments. Residents have been calling the medical center because they are afraid the county might close General Hospital, spokesman Harvey Kern said.

General Hospital, with the nation's largest trauma and emergency department, sees about 600 patients a day, half of whom are Medi-Cal patients and 40% of whom have no insurance, Kern said.

"Most of our patients do not have resources, and General Hospital is seeing an increasing number of people who have lost their insurance because they have lost their jobs because of the economy," Kern said.

"Simply put, there are several options for reductions in health services, the possible closure of General Hospital and/or other department facilities," Kern said.

The board has also scheduled hearings July 12 to discuss how the proposed cuts will affect each county department.

Meanwhile, plans are moving ahead for a state-funded, $1-billion expansion project of the medical center. The project, which will displace 240 families east of the site, calls for the consolidation of the four hospitals into one large building and eventually the conversion General Hospital to an office building.

A consultant is preparing a draft environmental impact report which will be available to the public after it is finished in July, Kern said.

Hearings to gather public comment on the project have not been scheduled.

Consultant Frank Villalobos, president of Barrio Planners Inc., an architectural firm, said three or four meetings will be scheduled in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the environmental impact report in September.

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