Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors To Cooperate With Inquiry Into Proposal To Close King/Drew Medical Center Trauma Center
In response to an inquiry by the office of Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to give prosecutors records from two closed meetings on the proposed closure of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center's trauma unit, the Los Angeles Times reports (Fox, Los Angeles Times, 9/29).
Earlier this month, the board unanimously supported a plan to close the hospital's trauma center and hire outside managers to run the hospital to address other problems. Last week, the board voted 3-1 to pass a measure to hold a public hearing to consider the closure. The vote began the legally mandated process the government must complete to reduce the level of health services at the hospital (California Healthline, 9/22).
The vote followed meetings on Sept. 7 and Sept. 13 during which supervisors agreed to support county Department of Health Services Director Thomas Garthwaite's plan to close the trauma center. Supervisors described both meetings as consultations with county lawyers about "anticipated litigation."
Following the Sept. 13 meeting, supervisors held a press conference to endorse the closure, launching a "storm of opposition," according to the Times. Cooley on Friday announced that prosecutors had launched an inquiry into allegations that supervisors had violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, a state law that requires government bodies to conduct most business in public.
Sandi Gibbons, a spokesperson for Cooley, said, "We're still in the reviewing stage, but we need the documents in order to determine whether to open a criminal investigation." The supervisors voted 5-0 in a closed session on Tuesday to cooperate with the inquiry (Los Angeles Times, 9/29).