JCAHO Denies King/Drew Medical Center Appeal of Accreditation Denial
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations on Thursday denied Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center's appeal of a preliminary denial of accreditation following "a year of disclosures related to failures in medical care," the Los Angeles Times reports. Loss of JCAHO accreditation could affect the facility's contracts with private insurers, its eligibility to participate in federal programs and its physician-training programs (Ornstein/Landsberg, Los Angeles Times, 12/10).
JCAHO inspectors have visited the hospital several times in recent months in response to reports of patient deaths (California Healthline, 10/19).
King/Drew plans to file an additional appeal, but JCAHO officials have said they are not likely to reconsider their decision. If the hospital loses its final appeal, it will automatically lose accreditation, possibly as early as January, the Times reports.
Thomas Garthwaite, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said the hospital would reapply for accreditation in the next several months if it loses the appeal. He added that a team of consultants from Navigant Consulting currently is assessing the problems at the hospital and developing a reform plan. "The important message for the community is that this doesn't close the hospital," Garthwaite said, referring to the possible loss of JCAHO accreditation.
County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke said she hopes JCAHO will change its rules and delay denial of accreditation for another year to give the hospital time to address the problems.
However, JCAHO officials said they do not "base their decisions on promises of reform," the Times reports.
Los Angeles County has "programm[ed]" King/Drew's "failure" by "systematically dismantl[ing] the medical center, eliminating hundreds of positions and fail[ing] to provide adequate resources to care for the community's patients," David Martin, an attorney for the advocacy group Friends of King Drew, writes in a letter to the editor in response to a Times series on the hospital.
He writes that regulatory authorities "have laid the blame for the shortcomings and accreditation problems on inadequate resources and inadequately trained personnel," while the county and its administrators "have either ignored or rejected over 1,200 requests for critically needed personnel" at the hospital (Martin, Los Angeles Times, 12/10).
Several local broadcast programs recently reported on King/Drew and the Times series:
- KCET's "Life & Times": The program includes an interview with Charles Ornstein, a staff writer for the Times, about the series (Zavala, "Life & Times," KCET, 12/7). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?": The segment includes an interview with Tracy Weber, reporter for the Times, about the series (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?." KCRW, 12/7). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?": The segment includes comments from Los Angeles County Supervisors Gloria Molina and Burke; Los Angeles City Council member Martin Ludlow; and civil rights attorney Connie Rice (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?." KCRW, 12/9). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "AirTalk": The segment includes an interview with Ornstein about the series (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 12/6). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "Talk of the City": The segment includes comments from Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Burke (Felde, "Talk of the City," KPCC, 12/9). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.