Closure of King-Harbor Hospital Could Strain Local Health Providers
Hospitals and clinics in Los Angeles are bracing for the results next week of a federal inspection of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital that will determine whether the facility closes its doors and forces its patients to seek other providers, the Los Angeles Times reports (Engel/Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
CMS regulators earlier this month completed a weeklong inspection of King-Harbor Hospital to determine whether it meets minimum patient care standards. The hospital since 2004 has failed to meet such standards.
If King-Harbor fails the inspection, the hospital will lose $200 million in federal funding and will be forced to close its doors.
CMS officials by Aug. 15 are expected to announce their findings (California Healthline, 8/3).
The public and private hospitals in the county's emergency network are preparing for greater backlogs and longer wait times if King-Harbor closes.
Some of the seven not-for-profit community health clinics near the hospital already operate at capacity and fear an influx of new patients.
Health care advocates contend that uninsured and underserved patients will go without care altogether if the hospital closes.
The county Board of Supervisors has prepared a plan for closing King-Harbor if it fails the CMS inspection. Several services would remain open, including an urgent care center and outpatient clinics for diabetes, high blood pressure and some other services.
Under the county's plan, ambulances would be diverted to emergency departments at other hospitals. The county also will increase the number of patient beds at other hospitals (Los Angeles Times, 8/10).