Proposal to reopen inches forward
The proposal to reopen aggrieved Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital with assistance from the University of California is currently being worked on in the Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Office and will hopefully be complete sometime this week.
The proposal was supposed to be issued last Friday June 13, however county Public Information Officer Judy Hammond said the details were still being worked out.
According to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the proposal will likely include the following conditions: the county will compensate the university for “handling the county’s obligation” of providing healthcare to its residents; the property will be leased to the university for one dollar; the personnel issues will be handled by the university; the county will cede the governance of the hospital to the university; and the 250 residency slots at the hospital that have been preserved by the county will be given to the university
“The university doesn’t want to be saddled with a bottomless pit of debt, and we don’t want to be taken advantage of, either,” says Yaroslavsky. He also stated that the exact money the county would pay the university has not yet been decided.
Originally, county officials were in negotiation with officials from Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, but that organization declined the offer.
Last Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger voiced his support for reopening MLK Hospital and encouraged the university and county officials to move forward with negotiations for a partnership to re-open the hospital. “I have asked that meetings between L.A County and UC officials begin immediately to discuss options for reopening MLK…These discussions should begin with the county outlining their proposals for addressing governance, financing, seismic safety and medical safety-issues that must be addressed to reopen the hospital, “ says Schwarzenegger.
Wyatt “Rory” Hume, UC Provost and Executive Vice President, says that although the university was initially only interested in playing an academic and clinical role, the university is willing to take part in the effort to reopen the distressed hospital.
The question of reopening the King-Harbor Hospital, formerly known as Martin Luther King-Drew Medical, center has been lingering since last August, when the facility’s authority to offer emergency and in-patient services was removed. The reduction of the hospital services took place after a failed “make or break” inspection by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which later threatened the federal funding of the hospital. Currently the inner city hospital operates only as an urgent care center.