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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Larger State Role Sought for Trauma Networks

October 31, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A key legislator Monday said she would try to boost the state's role in the ailing trauma networks in both Los Angeles County and across California.

Assemblywoman Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), the majority whip of the Assembly, made the statement after a three-hour hearing in Baldwin Park about the county's trauma network, which came close to unraveling before supervisors authorized a $8.5-million bailout earlier this month.

In an interview, Romero said that the testimony during the hearing by the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Health Care, which she chairs, reinforced her conviction that the state is responsible for helping pay for trauma networks. A trauma network is a group of hospitals with staff and equipment dedicated to handling severe emergencies.

Many of the 13 hospitals in Los Angeles' network threatened to pull out this fall because the state has steadily cut the amount of money available to trauma networks. Romero said Monday's testimony proved that other counties are facing similar problems.

"This is something every jurisdiction is reporting," Romero said. "It's an issue we need to tackle from a statewide perspective."

She acknowledged that may be difficult since the governor's office has said funding trauma networks is a county responsibility. But Romero said she hopes to introduce a bill next session to free up more money.

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