Proposal Calls for Transfer of King/Drew Medical Center
Administration of Martin Luther King/Drew University Medical Center would be transferred to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and clinical services at King/Drew would be reduced under a plan by the county Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles Times reports.
County DHS Director Bruce Chernof is expected to present the plan to the board of supervisors on Tuesday. The plan calls for:
- Transferring obstetrics, pediatrics, ophthalmology, and brain and heart surgery to Harbor;
- Continuing operation of a women's health clinic at King/Drew;
- Maintaining a 24-hour urgent care clinic at King/Drew;
- Contracting with physicians to staff the emergency department; and
- Reducing the number of beds from about 252 to 42, although the number would eventually increase to about 114.
Michael Wilson, a spokesperson for county DHS, said the county would consider the proposal in the coming weeks.
The plan comes after CMS in September informed King/Drew administrators that the hospital had failed an inspection and would lose eligibility for federal funding.
Citing comments from Harbor staff members speaking on condition of anonymity, the Times reports that Harbor CEO Tecla Mickoseff last week told her staff that she opposes the plan and might not remain on staff at the hospital to oversee the transition.
Mickoseff could not be reached for comment, and county DHS officials said they were unaware that Mickoseff allegedly is considering resignation (Hymon et al., Los Angeles Times, 10/3).
According to the Times, public hospitals and clinics throughout Los Angeles County could have to absorb employees from King/Drew, many of whom cannot be fired immediately because of county civil service rules.
Three of the county's five supervisors last week said plans for the future of King/Drew would have to include provisions for reassigning its more than 2,200 employees, the Times reports.
The county DHS said it currently has about 5,000 open positions throughout the county. About 300 nurses and 130 physicians currently work at King/Drew (Larrubia, Los Angeles Times, 10/2).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) "signaled his support" for a plan similar to the county DHS proposal, but he did not say which hospital should partner with King/Drew, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides was expected to hold a community meeting with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to discuss the situation (Hopkins, Los Angeles Daily News, 10/2).
Several broadcast programs included discussions on the future of King/Drew:
- KPCC's "KPCC News": The segment reports on a medical apprentice program at King/Drew with King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science and includes comments from students and teachers in the program (Guzman Lopez, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/29). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "Patt Morrison": The segment includes comments from Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 9/29). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KQED's "The California Report": The segment includes comments from Michael Stephen, vice chair of the emergency department at St. Francis Medical Center, the closest hospital to King/Drew, and Timothy Watkins, head of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (Schmitz, "California Report," KQED, 9/29). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.