Advisory body will monitor L.A. County trauma center funds

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s new $151 million patient tower is scheduled to open in 2019. Courtesy rendering.

To ensure funding for trauma centers in Los Angeles County can meet the needs of patients, the Board of Supervisors created a task force to monitor the distribution of these funds.

Because of health care reform, county trauma centers have had an alternative means of funding to Measure B, according to Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

“Upon the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which acted as a new funding source to treat the trauma needs of the uninsured, the number of uninsured trauma patients utilizing Measure B funds decreased significantly,” Barger said in a statement.

“The implementation of the Measure B advisory body will ensure that the unallocated Measure B funds are being reinvested into the trauma hospitals with the greatest need.”

Residents passed Measure B in 2002 to maintain the county’s trauma network in response to 9/11, which provided $250 million to county trauma centers.

Without any oversight, a state audit found that $190 million of those funds were going to three county centers and all other hospitals were left to the rest.

In Santa Clarita, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital was second to last in terms of funding in 2011-12 with $908,812.

The county’s advisory body will include representatives from the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, the Auditor-Controller, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Department of Health Services and the Department of Public Health.

Other stakeholders, including a trauma center surgeon, a representative chosen by the Hospital Association of Southern California and Emergency Medical Services Commission representatives will participate as well.

This is not the first time Measure B funds have been discussed by elected officials this year. Senate Bill 792 to create an oversight commission for the funds was introduced to State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) in support of Antelope Valley residents. The bill passed the Senate floor and is headed to the Assembly for consideration.

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