THOMAS L. GARTHWAITE, M.D.
Director and Chief Medical Officer
Chief Operating Officer
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
313 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
November 21, 2003
P.O. Box 3465
Van Nuys, CA 91407
Dear Mr. Netkin:
This is in response to your recent request for information "... for the past three years, of the number of births to mothers who, when admitted to county hospitals, could not provide social security numbers and of the numbers of those mothers who could provide social security numbers." Although we do not have a database that records whether a social security number was provided on admission, I am providing the following figures based on information collected from birth certificates. Over the three-year period 2000-2002, there were 457,798 births in Los Angles County. Of these, 15546 (3.4%) births occurred at County hospitals and mother's social security number was not recorded for 60% of these births. As these data indicate, the proportion of births at our hospitals is considerably lower than the 7% you quoted in your letter. I want to stress that it is important to interpret the information from birth certificates with caution. The absence of a mother s social security number on the birth certificate could be a result of several factors including the number not being known, the number being withheld, the mother not possessing a social security number, or simply a failure to record it on the birth certificate.
In a follow-up letter you also requested similar data for births at "... any and all other medical facilities paid for by Los Angeles County." Obstetric patients seen at Los Angeles County hospitals are not referred to other facilities for care and payment is not provided by our department for deliveries at other hospitals.
Thank you for our inquiry and we hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions or need additional information, please let me know.
Chief Operating Officer
Michael D. Antonovich, Fifth District Supervisor
Thomas L Garthwaite, MD
Jeff Guterman, MD
Paul Simon, MD
HAL NETKIN, POB 3465, Van Nuys, CA 91407
December 5, 2003
Chief Operating Officer
County of Los Angeles
Department of Health Services
313 N. Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90012RE: Conflict of Information
Dear Mr. Leaf:
Thank you for your letter of November 21, 2003.
You indicate that you do not have a database that records whether a social security number is provided on admission. This is puzzling to me, as your statement conflicts with the information my wife was required to provide when she was admitted to Olive View Hospital for surgery in April, 2001.
I have attached a copy of a fax sent to me on approximately April 4, 2001 from Olive View case worker Susan Veklotz (the date stamp on the fax, Dec. 13, 2001, is in error), asking for the following information: form MC13 Statement of Citizenship (copy attached), bank statements for two accounts for February and March of 2001, and my wife's alien card and social security card.
The above said information was supplementary to information which my wife had already provided which consisted of copies of: the trust deed to our house, the title to our car, the adoption papers for our three adopted children, a copy of my wife's naturalization document, and the social security numbers for myself and each of our three children.
Section D, of form MC13 asks if the applicant has a Social Security number. And says further that Aliens who are not in "satisfactory immigration status," and who do not have a SSN, can still get restricted Medi-Cal if they meet all eligibility requirements. Of course since the county cannot by law discriminate against patients based on ethnic or social profiling, it must be a "given" that "all" patients, regardless of ethnic or social status, must provide citizenship and immigration status information. Surely, the Department of Health Services must maintain a database of records containing MC13 information which it must provide to the Federal Government and the State of California, the principal funding providers of Medi-Cal -- thus I believe that you are in error that there is no database that records whether or not a Social Security number is provided on admission.
There is yet another major conflict of information. At a Seniors for Action meeting in Sherman Oaks, on Thursday, July 31, 2003, in which I was in attendance, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said in no uncertain words, that county workers are prohibited by federal law from asking any questions regarding immigration status. Please explain.
Having established that the Department of Health Services does in fact keep records of patients who can or cannot provide social security numbers, by way of this letter, I am requesting under the California Public Records Act, the data for the past three years, of the exact number (not a percentage) of patients who, when admitted to county hospitals for any reason, could not provide social security numbers, and of the number of those patients who could provide social security numbers
CC: Thomas Garthwaite, Michael Antonovich, Zev Yaroslavsky, Irene Dyer, Jeff Guterman, Wes Ford, Paul Simon, Craig Nelson of FILE (www.fileus.com), other unnamed recipients.