When the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital opens its doors sometime in 2013, the 1.2 million people who live in the medical center’s service area will get more than a place that will treat aches, pains and broken bones.

The goal is to create a facility that does all of the above plus works to improve the overall health of the community residents by partnering with every level of healthcare provider in the community–from storefront clinics to HMOs, said Malyne Yocum, interim CEO of the new hospital.

” . . . if we were to open today, the top diagnosis, we would expect to walk through our doors would be heart disease, and if you look at it, there are two main causes. One is obesity and the other is diabetes,” pointed out Yocum, also noting that the area around MLK called SPA6 has the worst health in L.A. County.

Consequently, the new King intends to be part of the solution by working to provide more health education to the populace and by establishing a network that tries to ensure that every health provider used by patients in the region can have at least a minimal level of knowledge about what treatment is being provided to their mutual clients. Yocum admits this is a massive undertaking, trying to network their care, and thinks some sort of data warehouse will be the key to successfully accomplishing the task.

She also believes that creating such a connection is critical to helping improve the overall health of the community.

Another difference the new MLK hospital will have is that instead of being a county-run facility, it is now a nonprofit directly accountable to the community.

The interim CEO said this means having an ongoing dialogue with the community–the citizens living in the area, the physicians who practice there, people working there and anyone else having anything to do with the hospital.

Establishing all of this is a work in progress.

Yocum said the next critical step is to find an operator for the hospital whose mission echoes the board’s vision.

“The operator has to have experience operating a similar hospital in a similar community and must have a similar mission. It also has to have a proven, quality program with year-over-year improving results,” Yocum said.

Finally, to bring the community into the process, the new King board has established a website that interested stakeholders can access and use to communicate their thoughts and desires about the new facility. It is www.newmlkcommunityhospital.com. Those who wish to call, can contact the board at (866) 532-3959.