Los Angeles County Supervisors OK Closure of King-Harbor Hospital
Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously voted to terminate inpatient services at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital and released CMS' report of the hospital's failed inspection, the Los Angeles Times reports (Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 8/14).
CMS officials on Friday announced that King-Harbor no longer will be eligible to receive $200 million in federal funding after failing two inspections. CMS found the hospital fell below minimum federal standards in eight out of 23 areas assessed in an inspection last month.
The hospital has been out of compliance with federal standards since January 2004 (California Healthline, 8/13).
The report faulted the hospital and the county board of supervisors as the hospital's governing body for not having an effective plan in place to improve the quality of medical services at the hospital. The report also detailed a number of errors and other problems observed during the inspection last month.
As part of the plan to end inpatient services at King-Harbor, supervisors pledged to pay nearby hospitals and private physicians as much as $16.3 million for treating patients who would have sought care at King-Harbor.
In addition, county health officials are working to add 52 beds at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey and 20 beds at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance (Los Angeles Times, 8/14).
County officials plan to maintain outpatient clinics and an urgent care center at King-Harbor after the hospital closes (California Healthline, 8/13).
County officials now will work to identify a private operator to take over administration of King-Harbor or operate the facility under restructured county oversight (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/13).
Officials from nearby facilities worried that the county's proposed reimbursement plan would not cover the cost of treating patients displaced by the closure of King-Harbor, but county Chief Executive William Fujioka said the proposal is "very, very fair."
In addition, hospital leaders said they were concerned that the loss of another emergency department -- 10 others have closed in Los Angeles County in the past six years -- could further undermine the county's emergency network (Los Angeles Times, 8/14).
County supervisors also moved to require King-Harbor personnel to undergo competency evaluations before they are reassigned to other county facilities.
Fujioka said King-Harbor employees will be evaluated and provided with necessary training and orientation. He left open the possibility of terminating employees who are found to be "grossly incompetent" (Los Angeles Daily News, 8/13).
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Tuesday reported on the board of supervisors' meeting (Guzman-Lopez, KPCC, "KPCC News," 8/14). Full audio and a transcript are available online.
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Tuesday also reported on the legacy of King-Harbor (Davis, KPCC, "KPCC News," 8/14). Full audio and a transcript are available online.