Kaiser Permanente Southern California has announced a $2 million grant to help expand maternity services at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles, scheduled to open in the spring of 2015.

The Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grant will aid with the expansion of labor and delivery, as part of the new hospital’s Healthy Babies, Healthy Beginnings initiative to provide high quality maternity services to 1.2 million residents throughout South L.A. and its surrounding communities, including Compton, Inglewood, Watts, Willowbrook, and Lynwood.

“We believe healthy beginnings lead to healthy babies. Our commitment helps lay the foundation for a great start for babies and their moms,” said Georgina R. Garcia, RN, BSN, MS, executive director, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. Garcia serves on the board of directors of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital. “We are committed to making this hospital successful and bringing high-quality healthcare to this community. By supporting the expansion of these maternity services, we are bridging a healthcare gap, increasing access to healthcare, and improving the health of our communities.”

South L.A. has the highest rates of preterm births, infant mortality and low birth weight babies, according to the Community Health Councils (CHC). This grant will make it possible for the new state-of-the-art hospital to support and increase the number of healthy deliveries for families in the community.

“We appreciate Kaiser Permanente’s support of our efforts to ensure the community has access to much needed services. These funds will help us achieve that goal,” said Dr. Elaine Batchlor, chief executive officer, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital. “The hospital will be a welcoming place for community residents to grow their families and we look forward to being a part of those special moments.”

Kaiser Permanente’s support will help provide nurseries, an operating room, and birthing and postpartum rooms, big enough for families. Breastfeeding and infant care education for new moms will also be offered.

South Los Angeles has been without a major hospital since 2007. The new 131-bed facility will deliver high-quality care in partnership with the County of Los Angeles, the University of California, and other community providers. The Board of Directors of Martin Luther King Jr.–Los Angeles Healthcare Corporation will operate the new community hospital.