Supporters of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center Criticize Navigant Report, Los Angeles Times Coverage
Supporters of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center at a public forum Saturday criticized a consultant's report on problems at the hospital, as well as a Los Angeles Times series examining some of the incidents at the facility, the Times reports.
Several doctors from the hospital criticized Navigant Consulting's report, saying the company did not spend enough time learning about how King/Drew functions before making its recommendations.
Dr. Samuel Shacks said, "There's no need for this international hospital to apologize. The only thing we have to apologize for is not throwing the rats out of the office" at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
Dr. Joanne Williams, an emergency department physician, said that instead of additional cultural sensitivity training at the hospital -- one of the recommendations made by Navigant -- King/Drew needed more African-American staff members.
Another physician said that the pediatric intensive care unit should not be closed because it is a "vital resource for sick children in the surrounding community," the Times reports.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said, "We have to correct the record" about the Times' coverage of the problems at the hospital, adding, "The L.A. Times thinks it's going to get a Pulitzer Prize on our backs. Part of their trying to get a Pulitzer Prize is they've got to see to it that the hospital is closed" (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 1/16).
The "major reform" under consideration by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to establish an independent board of health care experts to govern public hospitals "could improve not just struggling King/Drew but health care services countywide," a Times editorial says.
Noting that several areas of the nation have implemented similar governing structures, the editorial states, "The move toward more specialized governing structures is seen not just as a way to get politics out of hospitals ... but to make public hospitals more responsive to changing needs and conditions." The Times adds that the "groundwork has been laid for a health care authority," but "[s]uch a change would take time and legislative approval to implement," so "the stabilization of King/Drew must go on."
However, "the fact that supervisors are even considering a new governing board means that they understand they are committed for the long haul, even if that commitment leads to stepping aside," the Times concludes (Los Angeles Times, 1/18).