Community Leaders Respond To Closure of King-Harbor
The Los Angeles Times asked health care professionals, advocates and elected officials in Los Angeles to weigh in on the future of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Watts following its closure last month after a failed federal inspection. Summaries appear below.
- Richard Brown, Los Angeles Times: "We need to closely monitor the effect of the hospital's closure on the community and on other hospitals, and we need an independent assessment of whether the hospital's beds and emergency room are indispensable to the community -- and whether, therefore, the hospital must be reopened in one form or another," Brown, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and professor at the UCLA School of Public Health, writes in a Times opinion piece. The county "cannot have a vital future with a vibrant economy if the health of a major community is ignored," Brown concludes (Brown, Los Angeles Times, 9/9).
- Yvonne Burke, Los Angeles Times: "The sad truth is that the availability and quality of health care for the residents of Watts and the surrounding areas is even worse today than it was four decades ago, when Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital was conceived," Burke, a county supervisor, writes in a Times opinion piece. "Ultimately, a full-service hospital must continue to exist in South L.A. to meet the needs of the community," Burke writes (Burke, Los Angeles Times, 9/9).
- Hector Flores, Los Angeles Times: "The best way to reopen a publicly supported institution with a minimum of obstacles is to call on another public institution to take its place," specifically the University of California health system, Flores, former chair of the hospital's advisory board, writes in a Times opinion piece. "The UC system has the infrastructure, expertise and vision to take over the full operation of King-Harbor and make it part of its affiliated hospitals," according to Flores (Flores, Los Angeles Times, 9/9).
- Thomas Priselac, Los Angeles Times: "In the future, a hospital that opens (or reopens) there should consider new forms of ownership and management, and those who conceive it must recognize that a more effective governance system will be essential to ensuring that it provides the highest quality of care," Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, writes in a Times opinion piece. "That system must have at its core individuals with the necessary skill set, commitment and availability, as well as a singular interest in only doing what is right for the hospital and the patients it serves," Priselac writes (Priselac, Los Angeles Times, 9/9).
- Robert Ross, Los Angeles Times: "The county's decision to close King-Harbor Hospital is a sad one that will deal a severe blow to the health of the people of South Los Angeles," Ross, president and CEO of the California Endowment, writes in a Times opinion piece. "We must not only revive the dream of a high-quality comprehensive hospital that responds to the community's needs, but launch a broad-based and holistic effort to address the underlying causes of ill health and ultimately empower residents to lead healthier lives," according to Ross (Ross, Los Angeles Times, 9/9).