SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — When the governor created the California Health Corps to help treat the expected influx of COVID-19 patients, there were a lot of questions about how much it would cost taxpayers and how the Health Corps would be used.
New state data, obtained by CBS13, reveals where the state says it deployed California Health Corps personnel and how much the Health Corps has cost the state so far.
However, more than a month after CBS13 submitted the requests for public records to several different state agencies, it appears the state may be withholding some crucial information.
The California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMS), which oversees the Health Corps, provided CBS13 with a list of 18 facilities along with the number of corresponding “Occupied Beds,” “Staff Request Per Day” and “Total Shifts Covered” by Health Corps personnel.
The agency said it included the “total number of patients” treated by the Health Corps as of June 4, 2020, implying that the list was complete and included all Health Corps deployments as of that date.
“As of June 4, 2020, the total number of patients that have been treated by Health Corps personnel is 1,195 patients. As of June 4, 2020, California Health Corps personnel have provided treatment to patients at seventeen (17) separate facilities throughout the state,” EMS added in its response.
According to additional data provided by the agency, the Health Corps deployments have cost the agency $587,000 in salaries, benefits, and other associate costs, which translates to less than $500 dollars per patient.
But a closer look at the state’s data reveals EMS primarily included Health Corps personnel deployed to nursing homes and skilled care facilities across the state.
Notably missing from the state’s list, is the number of Health Corps personnel who were deployed to the large-scale alternative hospital facilities, like the Sleep Train Arena, which remained largely empty while the state paid millions of dollars a month in rent.
CBS13’s Public Records Act Request specifically asked for Health Corps data related to Sleep Train and other similar facilities.
The California Office of Emergency Services previously confirmed that at least 120 Health Corps personnel had been deployed to treat a total of just seven patients at Sleep Train. However, CalOES directed CBS13 to EMS for the official data.
CBS13 asked EMS about the missing data last week when we first received their incomplete PRA response and we followed up with the agency again on Monday.
A spokesperson would only confirm on Monday that Health Corps personnel had, in fact, been deployed to Sleep Train. However, the agency did not provide the requested data nor did they explain why the agency’s Public Records Act response included incomplete data and an inaccurate written response.