The California Department of Health Services released two long-awaited reports Thursday that raised questions about the progress Los Angeles County has made in promised reforms of the public healthcare system.
The reports, each hundreds of pages long, detail the findings of an independent audit that examined 12 broad areas of reform promised by the county in 2000 in exchange for $900 million in federal funding.
Those promises, which focused primarily on administrative issues, were for the most part fulfilled during the 2000-01 and 2001-02 fiscal years, the audit found. But in three areas the county's performance fell short, the report said.
The county failed to meet a required increase in Medi-Cal enrollments, submitted a late application for a federal program, and could have done better in its monitoring of county contracts with community clinics and other private providers, state officials said.
"The audit's findings raise serious concerns about Los Angeles county's performance in both fiscal and programmatic areas," said Ken August, a spokesman with the state health services department.
County officials disputed all of those findings, and said the healthcare system had made important progress.
"The county's position is that we have met all the deliverables" required by the funding, said John Wallace, a spokesman with the county Department of Health Services.
Assemblyman Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) has urged the public release of the reports since last year, and said they raise serious questions about the county's progress.