The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

L.A. County Exposes Graft, Patients Pay the Price

Jun 6, 2022

For several years, Los Angeles County officials have been accusing the University of Southern California (USC) of not assigning enough medical staff to provide care. Also, they charge that physicians are “double-booking,” claiming records show doctors working at County-USC hospital and USC’s own Keck hospital during the same time slots! USC runs the county’s 600-bed hospital near downtown L.A., known as County-USC.

The problem was apparently so serious that, back in 2019, county officials included in their contract with USC, worth 170 million dollars a year, the unusual provision that USC doctors would be required to clock in and out at County-USC and would be compensated based on the number of hours they actually worked. But still, by the winter of 2020, the county had reduced payments to USC by about 11 million dollars for not providing physician coverage as needed. Then, they formally accused USC of breach of contract in May 2021. County officials said that an audit in the cardiovascular division had showed hundreds of instances of double-booking or no physician coverage between Sept. 2019 and Sept. 2020.

USC has admitted to “routine” staffing issues—to short-staffing, that is. Still, USC said the county was making accusations so it could negotiate a less expensive contract. Maybe. But the levels of patient neglect appear obvious.

While these two big institutions fight over money, they both cut services to patients and divert money to the capitalists running the system. Finally, the price is paid by working-class and poor people, who don’t get the health services we need.