To: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
We support the integration of the Department of Health Services (DHS), Department of Mental Health (DMH), Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Sheriff’s Department medical services into a single agency. Only by pulling together can we create the medical home that County residents need as their foundation for achieving wellness.
A significant portion of the people we see have some combination of physical, mental, and substance abuse issues. Today, the County’s disjointed health system makes it difficult to address those needs in a comprehensive fashion. We would prefer to work together to care for County residents within a single, integrated agency. Integration will improve communication between providers, assist us in making appropriate and timely referrals, reduce delays, and increase treatment compliance. In short, integration will lead to better health for our community, as well as a better working environment for doctors.
Providing comprehensive health care at a single point of entry is not only better for the people we care for, it is cost-effective. Integration will save money by avoiding the duplication of services that happens when people are passed between multiple departments for their health care, for example.
We know that running a health system is difficult — the County must control costs, optimize sources of revenue, and compete against many other employers to hire qualified providers. A single, well-managed agency can help the County meet these challenges. We have been impressed by the progress that Dr. Mitch Katz has made at DHS, and we hope that he will continue this work as the head of the new agency. We believe that the new agency should be run by a doctor with strong clinical, financial, and management skills, and that Dr. Katz fits that description.
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