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Wednesday, Oct 02 2013 01:20 PM

'First Look': KMC panel, animal shelters discussed

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    Scott Cox, left, talks with Californian government reporter James Burger about Kern Medical Center finances on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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With plans to find solutions to the current financial situation at Kern Medical Center, Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard appointed a six-member committee of former public officials and corporate and health care leaders on Tuesday to delve into the finances and look for solutions.

"I think everybody understands that KMC had been in financial trouble for decades but it's been difficult to drill down what the core problems are," Californian reporter James Burger said Wednesday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Since 2007, KMC had 17 county audits and some of the problems had been fixed and others not, Burger said.

The most recent crisis led to the removal of KMC CEO Paul Hensler on Sept. 9.

On top of the budget problem, Burger said a review of the hospital's receivables from various programs going back to fiscal year 2006 came up about $64 million short of projections.

"The problem got bad enough that just to make payroll, they had to borrow more money from the general fund and that's when questions started being asked," Burger said.

Simulcast host Scott Cox said the people on the committee are intelligent and he hopes they find solutions soon.

On another important subject, Burger talked about the "divorce" between the city and county animal shelters.

On Tuesday, the Kern County Animal Services and the City of Bakersfield Animal Care Center worked to conduct business as usual after the city evicted the county from their shared animal shelter.

"Both sides have to work their own operations and they'll soon see if they made a good decision to separate," Burger said.

Cox asked Burger whether educating the community was going to turn around the animal control situation.

Although education is important, Burger said, there is a central problem they both should tackle.

"You have to aggressively promote the spaying and neutering program," Burger said. "You have to deal with everything else around that but you can't focus on the solution if you don't do the one thing that makes the most impact."



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