Knabe Calls for Reform in Physician Payment Program

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to implement reforms to the Physician Services for Indigent Program (PSIP) on a motion by Supervisor Don Knabe.  Through the PSIP, doctors at private hospitals are compensated when patients cannot pay.

“The County is the ultimate safety net and our doctors are critical to ensuring that the neediest patients in LA County receive basic emergency care,” said Supervisor Knabe.  “We need to stop putting band-aids on a situation that requires real reform or we will be back to this same dilemma again next year.  We cannot continue to freeze payments and reduce rates – it is an insult to the doctors that we all depend on.”

Due to insufficient funding, exacerbated by the State pulling its support, the Department of Health Services froze its payments to doctors.  To address the immediate threat to the program, at its meeting last week, the Board approved a reduction in the rate paid to doctors, reimbursing them at twelve percent of the cost.

Through Knabe’s motion, the Director of Health Services will be authorized to reset interim payment rates going forward.  He has also been directed, with the assistance of the CEO and Auditor-Controller, to implement the remaining recommendations in the Auditor-Controller’s report of March 11, 2011.

“We must take the next step forward in improving our operations and how we manage emergency healthcare so that all residents of LA County who must visit an emergency room can expect the availability of services and quality they deserve,” said Supervisor Knabe.