Helping fill the health care void created by the closure of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Medical Center last year, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) will open a new Urgent Care Clinic in South Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 12, the first in what will be a substantial network of clinics developed for the community and operated by the university.
The new Charles Drew University Urgent Care Clinic will provide high quality, affordable health care for South Los Angeles residents and is located in the Kenneth Hahn Plaza at 11722 S. Wilmington Ave., at 120th Street in South Los Angeles. The facility has been designed for patients requiring immediate care short of emergency treatment.
"This is truly a momentous occasion for both South Los Angeles residents and the university," said Dr. Susan Kelly, President and CEO of CDU. "Our first clinic is very tangible evidence of this university's mission and commitment to helping the medically underserved in our community, and this new facility is quite literally in our own back yard, blocks away from our campus. This type of clinic is a true 'safety net' for communities suffering from abysmal health inequities and few care options-and sadly, South Los Angeles certainly fits that description. We are stepping forward with our new model of health care for this community, filling a huge void in the most medically underserved urban area in the entire country."
Dr. Hector Flores, medical director of the Family Care Specialists Medical Group and a member of CDU's Board of Trustees, stated "The Charles Drew University Urgent Care Clinic will meet a critical need in the South Los Angeles area. It is especially meaningful because it is operated under the auspices of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, a trusted name and a partner for health care in the community."
Long term community activist and Chair of the Black Health Task Force, Mrs. Lillian Mobley stated: "It is wonderful when a service or program that is greatly needed by the community is provided. I am proud to see this clinic open in an area that may seem forgotten. I look forward to the opening of many more."
Dr. Richard Baker, Dean of CDU's College of Medicine, noted that this and future CDU clinics have been specifically designed to meet the needs of community residents, with convenient locations and extended hours.
"Patients in our community are looking for a clinic that can offer high quality of care, bilingual staff, affordability, a friendly, comfortable environment, and extended hours with access to this care after work. We have adopted these concepts in our new 'patient-friendly' clinics," Baker stated.
CDU's clinic fills a vital need in the Watts-Willowbrook community, following the closure of Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Medical Center in 2007. A large number of patients in South Los Angeles are uninsured or underinsured, and have previously depended on county health care facilities. Preliminary estimates indicate that more than 16,000 patients annually will receive care at this new university-owned facility. The other university-developed clinic, located in Lynwood, is expected to open within the next six months.
The new facility opening on Friday will include electronic medical records, state-of-the-art diagnostic and testing equipment, six private examination rooms and treatment areas, and laboratory services.
Because an estimated 70% of medical students will practice in areas where they received their training, Dr. Kelly said the university's clinics will have the added benefit of serving as local sites for clinical rotations of students from CDU's College of Medicine and its College of Science and Health as part of their education.
"Many of our students are likely to practice in this area, so the clinics reinforce one of our primary objectives - keeping our graduates in medically underserved communities," she added.
Close to major public transportation (Metro Bus and Blue Line services), the new clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All forms of medical insurance will be accepted as payment.