Los Angeles County officials Tuesday highlighted the need to quickly transform the county's health care system to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Supervisor Gloria Molina said the county must prove it can compete with private health care providers in order to survive.
"The Affordable Care Act's primary mandates will take effect in just over one year," Molina said. "Our health department must urgently reinvent itself. We must transform from a safety net provider with unlimited demand for services to a more efficient provider vying for newly insured patients in a highly competitive marketplace."
Molina and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said revamping the department's mission would require strengthening the network of community health providers, upgrading the department's computer records system, and educating the public on the high quality of services available at county facilities.
The two supervisors recommended that Dr. Mitchell Katz, who heads the Department of Health Services, provide a monthly progress report to the Board of Supervisors.
The board unanimously agreed.
Katz -- whose department has been anticipating federal reforms for months -- is scheduled to deliver his first formal report on Nov. 27.
"Our customer services must be second to none," Molina said, as failure would require "an infusion of general fund dollars to avert a system collapse."