Private Long Beach Hospital Front Runner in King-Harbor Contract
Pacific Hospital, a small private hospital in Long Beach, is the leading candidate to win a contract to reopen Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles, according to county officials, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In August 2007, the county halted inpatient services at King-Harbor after years of unsuccessful attempts by the Board of Supervisors to reform the facility.
Pacific Hospital is the clear front-runner despite its size and lack of experience with large, complex facilities such as public hospitals, Supervisor Yvonne Burke said. She added that she expects negotiations with Pacific to be completed within 60 days.
Clark Todd, Pacific's president, said his organization's proposal is initially to reopen the hospital with 77 beds, rather than all 400 beds once available at the hospital.
Negotiations with Pacific still face several obstacles, Burke said.
One sticking point is the number of uninsured patients the hospital would treat and how much the county would pay for their treatment, the Times reports.
Another issue is whether Pacific, which is a nonunion hospital, would be required to hire union workers at the reopened hospital. County CEO William Fujioka said the hospital would not necessarily be required to hire union workers.
However, Kathy Ochoa -- a senior adviser on health policy for Services Employees International Union, Local 721, which represents county health care workers -- said her organization would push to ensure union representation at the reopened hospital.
A third negotiation obstacle is what, if any, role the UC system would have at King-Harbor.
Burke said that she and other supervisors want the university system to take on a major role in the hospital's administration within the next few years. However, in January, Robert Dynes, outgoing UC president, said his organization would be unable to play a lead role in the reopening.
Meanwhile, Todd, Pacific's president, said his company would have to assess "what they bring to the table" before accepting a partnership with the UC system (Therolf, Los Angeles Times, 3/29).