The Daily News posted How much would a new L.A. city health department cost? $330 million, says budget analyst a few days ago. It’s a response to AIDS Healthcare Foundation collecting signatures to have voters elect on a new health department.
Creating a new Los Angeles city health department could take between one and two years and cost at least $333 million a year, with only about $75 million of that made up in fees, the city’s top budget analyst said in a report.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said the proposal from the AIDS HealthCare Foundation to create a separate city agency apart from the county Department of Public Health would create a number of other problems for the city, which still has a deficit of more than $100 million, by prohibiting any contracting with the county for assistance.
“A newly established Public Health Department in the city will not be equipped to adequately serve all the public health needs for the city’s entire population, given its vast and specialized responsibilities coupled with the necessary financial resources to fully prepare for implementation,” Santana said. “It will be very challenging for the city.”
The City Council is scheduled to consider his report on Wednesday.
What do we need another health department for, you ask? That is a good question.
AHF executive director Michael Weinstein said he believes a city agency will be better able to deliver services to the public and that the cost estimates from Santana are inaccurate.
“If they looked at the initiative, it spells out that no general fund money will be used,” Weinstein said. “I find it interesting they are spending so much time now fighting a measure that will not be on the ballot for a year.”
If approved, the measure also calls for the new agency to be created within 120 days, something Santana said he doubts can be accomplished given the need to hire upwards of 1,800 new workers, find the space needed and begin the programs that would be required. He estimated it would take a minimum of one year and possibly two before it could be operational.
“Delivery of public health services is not an ‘off the shelf’ service that can be rushed arbitrarily,” Santana said. “The breadth and scope of services needed and the design of a system to deliver them requires careful and detailed planning and consideration by a multitude of experts.”
Weinstein said, however, he believes the new agency could be staffed up quickly with transfers of workers from the county.
“Impound Guy” commented:
Yea that’s what we need another City Agency with benefits and salaries in a City can’t afford what they have now. So that this agency can sit around on the clock and try and figure out what exactly they are suppose to be overseeing that the other guys couldn’t.
I’ve got a pretty good guess about what that could be. And it rhymes with “gondoms”!
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