Federal Officials Extend Funding Deadline for King/Drew
CMS on Monday agreed to continue funding Martin Luther King Jr./Drew University Medical Center through March 2007, when the county said the hospital's transition to UCLA-Harbor Medical Center would be complete, the AP/San Francisco Examiner reports (AP/San Francisco Examiner, 10/30).
King/Drew failed a CMS inspection conducted over the summer, resulting in a loss of eligibility to participate in Medicare at a cost of about $200 million annually, about half the center's budget. Federal funding was scheduled to end by Nov. 30.
Los Angeles County officials devised a plan to keep the hospital open by downsizing its services and transferring administration to Harbor-UCLA. To implement the plan, the county asked federal officials to continue providing about $200 million for one more year and to provide an additional $50 million to offset the cost of the transition to Harbor-UCLA (California Healthline, 10/18).
A letter from Medicare officials stated that the extension could be cancelled at any time if King/Drew does not show ongoing signs of improved care quality.
Although the request for $200 million was approved, CMS officials rejected the request for an additional $50 million grant.
Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke said the grant is needed to fund displaced Drew University medical residents.
Bruce Chernof, chief of the county Department of Health Services, said the county would look for other sources for the additional grant, including federal, state, local or philanthropic foundations. He said he plans to present county officials with options for Drew residents at a Nov. 6 public hearing (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 10/31).