County Board Approves King/Drew Proposal
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan outlining the reduction of services at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew University Medical Center and the transfer of management to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Bruce Chernof, director of the county Department of Health Services, said he will present the plan, called MetroCare, to federal officials as early as Wednesday. If CMS does not approve the plan, Chernof said the hospital would close.
King/Drew failed a CMS inspection conducted over the summer, resulting in a loss of eligibility to participate in Medicare at a cost to the medical center of about $200 million annually, about 45% of its budget. King/Drew could lose federal funding as soon as Nov. 30.
The plan calls for:
- Transferring obstetrics; pediatrics; ophthalmology; neonatal intensive care; and oral maxillofacial, brain and heart surgery to Harbor;
- Reducing the number of beds from about 252 to 42 by March 1, 2007, but increasing the number to about 114 by November 2007 (Rosenblatt/Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 10/18);
- Continuing operation of a women's health clinic at King/Drew;
- Maintaining a 24-hour urgent care clinic at King/Drew;
- Contracting with physicians to staff the emergency department (California Healthline, 10/17);
- Reassigning employees throughout the county health system;
- Establishing a transportation service between the facility and Harbor-UCLA (Los Angeles Times, 10/18); and
- Renaming the facility Harbor-Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital effective March 1, 2007 (AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 10/17).
The board also agreed to fast-track a planned construction project at Harbor-UCLA to expand its surgery, ED and inpatient areas (Los Angeles Times, 10/18).
If CMS approves the plan, Harbor-MLK would have to pass two inspections next year to receive a new contract (AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 10/17).
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Tuesday reported on the board's approval of the plan. The segment includes comments from:
- Drew University President Susan Kelly;
- Gloria Molina, a Los Angeles County supervisor; and
- Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor (Myrow, "KPCC News," KPCC, 10/17).