Los Angeles, CA — Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, marking his 100th day in office, met on Monday with local media to answer questions regarding health care, business, jobs, foreclosures, community outreach and more during an informal roundtable at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.
Ridley-Thomas stated that the Second District includes nine cities with over 2.5 million residents.
The cities include Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lynwood, portions of Los Angeles, as well as unincorporated sections of south/southwest Los Angeles County.
In an effort to better serve the vast area, Ridley-Thomas announced the planned opening of 4-5 district offices to be staffed with lead deputies. He also took the opportunity to announce new staff members and highlight their various and diverse areas of expertise.
Adding a bit of suspense to the meeting, Ridley-Thomas said that there would be an upcoming major announcement that would lay out his vision regarding the re-opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center (MLK). The supervisor has also asked the Los Angeles County’s CEO to report on March 17, the status of discussions with the University of California on ways to establish full hospital services at MLK.
Yesterday afternoon, the Supervisor made the announcement that a proposed plan, involving the University of California (UC) and State of California would lead to the eventual opening of MLK in late 2012.
“The matter of health care in L.A. County is urgent. Therefore, the announcement of this proposal marks a significant step toward restoring quality patient care at the Martin Luther King Medical Center. The public-private partnership approach we are taking is prudent, feasible, scalable and potentially catalytic in ways that improve the health care outcomes in the region,” said Ridley-Thomas. “I commend the governor, the UC and County CEO for their hard and diligent work, and the Board of Supervisors for their critical support. I am hopeful that any remaining details can be successfully resolved in a timely manner. Time is of the essence as communities with very deserving patients impatiently await the reopening of this important medical center,” he added.
If all the necessary local and state approvals can be obtained, MLK would open as a privately-owned and operated, independent, non-profit hospital corporation which would have an appointed governing board vested with full authority and accountability.
L.A. County would provide ongoing financial support to the new MLK to ensure long-term viability. UC would enter into a contractual agreement with the non-profit entity to establish standards regarding quality assurance and to provide physician services. Hospital staff would be hired and employed by the new non-profit entity.
The proposed new MLK would have an emergency room and all health services provided at the hospital would be integrated and coordinated with services provided by L.A. County at the MLK Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center (MLK MACC) and at the Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Care Center.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors will review and consider the new MLK Hospital proposal shortly. The proposal will be presented to the UC Board of Regents for its review and consideration when it convenes for meetings later this month.
One of Ridley-Thomas’ other suggestions, during his first 100 days was that Board meetings be held in the various districts on a rotating and quarterly basis, in order to better involve the constituents and maximize public participation. A report on potential funding and analysis of meeting schedules is due in two weeks.
A long-time proponent of school-based health clinics, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas introduced a motion on Tuesday directing county officials to report back with a plan, including a timeline for developing at least five projects in the county. He earlier led an effort that will ensure free and low-income clinics in underserved communities.
When asked if the County was prepared for a disaster, such as an earthquake, the Supervisor flatly said, “No.” Trauma services at MLK and Harbor (also in the Second District) would be vital to victims in any catastrophic emergency, beyond the already stretched emergency medical resources. The Second District proportionally has the fewest hospital beds in the county.
Ridley-Thomas not only sees health care spending as essential, but also as a catalyst for economic development in the district.
The supervisor is also looking at transportation as an avenue where projects can provide jobs and community growth. He has accelerated the schedule and advanced planning for the Crenshaw corridor transit line.
Other agenda items at the top of the Supervisor’s list are foreclosures; oil fields; workforce development; youth programs; free, low cost, community and school based health clinics; transit – traffic relief and public transportation; crime reduction; and more.
Undaunted by the massive size and needs of the Second District, Ridley-Thomas and his team are poised to make things happen on a timetable that best serves the residents. In fact, he invites constituent feedback. For updated information, visit www.ridley-thomas.lacounty.gov or call (213) 974-2222.