LOS ANGELES – Antelope Valley Hospital sued Los Angeles County and the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, seeking a court order directing them to administer and allocate billions of dollars of property tax revenue for county trauma centers in accordance with Measure B.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges the county and the supervisors are obligated to reimburse Antelope Valley Hospital and the other 13 trauma centers in the county for the treatment of patients unable to pay for their care and who have no third-party insurance. [View the complaint here.]
“The … failure to reimburse AV Hospital for the very costs Measure B’s special tax were meant to cover has caused clear and substantial damage to AV Hospital, the entire Antelope Valley and other stakeholders,” the lawsuit states.
A county spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
Measure B, approved by voters in 2002, is a yearly special parcel tax to provide funding for expanding a countywide system of trauma centers and to improve the region’s ability to handle a biological terrorism attack.
AV Hospital’s emergency department has the second-highest volume of patients in the county and, when compared to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, treats “far more unfunded emergency room patients and twice as many traumatic injury patients,” the suit states.
The local hospital serves 5 percent of Los Angeles County’s population, but receives less than any other trauma and non-trauma center in the county – which is less than half of 1 percent of all Measure B funds annually, AV Hospital administrators said at a press conference in April.
“The county’s and the Board of Supervisors’ failure to provide meaningful and appropriate financial support to AV Hospital has left if on the brink of shutting its doors,” according to the lawsuit.
The consequences of the medical facility shutting down would “be dire not only for AV Hospital and its dedicated employees and vendors, but also for the entire Antelope Valley and indeed the entire county,” the suit says. “This is not what the voters intended in enacting Measure B.” [View the complaint here.]
Previous related story: