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LA City Ambulatory Care Update from LA Health Action

LA Health Action’s Collaborative Meeting on Thursday, June 9, 2011, provided stakeholders and advocates with a window into LA County’s Ambulatory Care Restructuring process. Dr. Alex Li, who recently joined LA County’s Department of Health Services as CEO of the Office of Ambulatory Care, shared his hopes that the County could begin to address its supply and demand disconnect by partnering more actively with Community Partner Clinics and by investing greater resources in ambulatory services. Louise McCarthy, President and CEO of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC) discussed the transition from the clinic perspective, including the need for strong communication between clinics and the County and for integration of former “Public Private Partnership” patients into Healthy Way LA.

Dr. Li and Ms. McCarthy pointed to cultural competency and quality measurement as areas in which the County was ahead of the curve, but major challenges remain. Katie Murphy, Supervising Attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County, pointed to geographic accessibility and timeliness standards as potential pitfalls for the integration effort. Preserving access for those who do not qualify for Healthy Way LA, such as patients in LA on long-term visas, was a concern raised by Donald Nollar, Medi-Cal/Health Programs Specialist at Maternal and Child Health Access. Last, Kathy Ochoa, Director of Healthcare Policy and Advocacy with SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, called attention to the important role that the county’s ambulatory care clinics will continue to play.