Supervisors Mull Closure of Los Angeles County Hospital
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday ordered health officials to submit a contingency plan for the closure of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital if it fails to meet federal quality-of-care standards, the Los Angeles Times reports.
County officials in two weeks will submit the plan.
Two supervisors acknowledged that contingency plans for the hospital were discussed in closed session meetings in previous weeks. However, the discussions were not listed on the meeting agenda, as is required by law.
Federal inspectors last week said emergency department patients at King-Harbor were in "immediate jeopardy" of harm or death (Rosenblatt/Connell, Los Angeles Times, 6/13). The hospital was given 23 days to meet minimum federal standards or lose its eligibility to participate in Medicare.
King-Harbor is operating under a special agreement with CMS after the agency dropped the hospital's certification to participate in Medicare. Under the agreement reached in March, Los Angeles County is not billing Medicare for procedures at the hospital until August, by which time the hospital is expected to have addressed the problems.
The hospital in 2005 lost its accreditation from the Joint Commission, formerly known as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and since 2004 has failed more than a dozen federal inspections (California Healthline, 6/13).
Bruce Chernof, director of the county health department, told the board the hospital could meet federal approval. He added, "In spite of what you have heard and what has been said, there have been gains in the quality of care."
In addition, supervisors on Monday placed the hospital's chief medical officer, Roger Peeks, on "ordered absence."
Robert Splawn, chief medical officer for the health department, was named as Peeks' interim replacement (Los Angeles Times, 6/13).
KPCC's "Air Talk" on Friday included a discussion about plans for King-Harbor. Guests on the program included Los Angeles Times staff writer Charles Ornstein and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (Mantle, "Air Talk," KPCC, 6/8).
Archived audio of recent "Air Talk" broadcasts is available online.