MOORLACH UPDATE — Restaurant Safety — April 28, 2014

The Board will vote tomorrow on the County’s response to the recent Grand Jury report on grading systems for restaurants (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Restaurant Rating Redux — March 7, 2014). The OC Register and the Voice of OC tee up the discussion, but it could use a little editing. The response is due within 90 days, a deadline that is being adequately met. The County’s response is to disagree with the Grand Jury’s recommendations. My position from six years ago has not changed. Therefore, there may be some discussion to study options, but it will take a majority of the Board to initiate this course of action. However, the study should not be too difficult, as the materials from the previous discussion could not have changed too much over this time period.

Catch up on this week’s top local civic stories

BY TRACY WOOD and NICK GERDA

VOICE OF OC

The week’s hot issues in Orange County involve the county’s health care plan for the poor and elderly and the county’s restaurant rating system.

NEW PROBLEMS FOUND IN COUNTY HEALTH PLAN

State auditors discovered significant problems with the way CalOptima, the county’s $1.5 billion health plan for low-income and disabled residents, administers its overall Medi-Cal programs.

The February audit by the state Department of Health Care Services followed a highly critical federal audit of the health plan’s 16,000-member One-Care program for older adults. But the state review covered key issues for all of CalOptima’s roughly 510,000 members, more than half of them children.

Among the findings contained in an April 23 letter: › Multiple problems with the way the outside vendor hired by CalOptima in 2012 approved or denied prescriptions, sometimes causing delays as long as two weeks in getting prescriptions filled.

› Failure to put in place systems to detect potential fraud, waste and abuse.

› Grievances that weren’t handled in a timely way and appeals that weren’t thoroughly reviewed to correct all issues.

› Providers weren’t monitored to track how they handled referrals.

CalOptima has until May 23 to submit a plan for correcting the problems.

The audit report comes as Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s influence at the agency is set to be diluted by her colleagues.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson is scheduled to appoint a second supervisor to the Cal-Optima board of directors Tuesday, adding Supervisor Todd Spitzer to help keep an eye on how Nguyen and her appointees to the board provide oversight to the county’s largest agency. The Board of Supervisors meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, CalOptima’s board is expected to discuss the state audit at the Thursday board of directors meeting, which begins at 2 p.m.

RESTAURANT SAFETY

SIGNS TO BE STUDIED

Following a grand jury’s urging that Orange County require color-coded food safety signs at local restaurants, officials now plan to study their options.

In their proposed response to the grand jury, county supervisors are scheduled to direct the Health Care Agency to report back within 90 days with options for food safety signs.

Spitzer recently endorsed the colored sign approach and Supervisor John ‍Moorlach has also signaled his support.

Nguyen, meanwhile, has opposed similar approaches in the past.

The response is set for discussion and approval at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting.

CONTACT THE WRITER:

Voice of OC is an independent

nonprofit news organization

focused on public policy in

Orange County. Contact Nick

Gerda at 714 558-8642 and at

ngerda@voiceofoc.org  

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