LA County hires San Francisco health director

Dr. Mitchell Katz, San Francisco Director of Health, stands near a welcome sign during the opening of Magnet, a new sexual health clinic for gay men July 1, 2003 in San Francisco, California.
Dr. Mitchell Katz, San Francisco Director of Health, stands near a welcome sign during the opening of Magnet, a new sexual health clinic for gay men July 1, 2003 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Los Angeles County has been trying to lure San Francisco’s health director south for two years. He’s finally on his way.

The new boss, Dr. Mitchell Katz, takes over on January 3. That'll end a two-and-a-half year vacancy in the L.A. County health director’s job.

Katz ran the health department for San Francisco. He earned praise for his innovative “Healthy San Francisco” program that provided care to 53,000 uninsured people. The Brooklyn native trained in medicine at Harvard and Yale; he’s an AIDS expert.

This will be the hardest job Katz has ever faced. Running the Department of Health Services can ruin your health.

Katz will monitor how L.A. County spends millions of dollars to treat thousands of patients at dozens of community health clinics. He’ll also be in charge of four hospitals, including one of the biggest and busiest in the world – County-USC Medical Center.

Soon he’ll be in charge of a fifth when the Martin Luther King care facility returns back up to hospital status. Mitchell Katz will be paid $355,000 a year to be L.A. County’s health services director – and he’ll earn every penny.

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