"The most important turnaround is made in the first six months," he said. "That's when people are most focused, that's when people are expecting change. Navigant missed this opportunity and now will have to play catch-up."
But Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, director of the county Department of Health Services, defended Navigant, saying the firm is experiencing the same type of intransigence from King/Drew staff that stymied earlier reform efforts by health department managers and other consultants.
"They may be guilty of over-promising," Garthwaite said.
"Everyone who has gone into King/Drew during this whole time [since late 2003] has found it much more difficult to get things done than they initially projected," he added. "Uniformly, people who've been there a while find that the usual rules don't hold. I think it's just an unusual process. So many systems are broken."
Patient care lapses have continued on Navigant's watch. In fact, government health inspectors are reviewing the cases of several patients who died this year after what county officials called medical errors in their care.
Navigant has also been accused, along with county managers, of waiting too long to take disciplinary action against some doctors and other employees accused of wrongdoing.