June 17, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital Opened its Doors Today

Main-entryThe long-awaited Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital opened its doors today, offering medical care to an area that has been without a full-service medical center since 2007.

The 131-bed facility in unincorporated Willowbrook south of Watts received final approval from the state Department of Public Health and accreditation from The Joint Commission, the nonprofit organization that accredits thousands of hospitals across the country, last week.

“Accreditation by The Joint Commission clears the final hurdle to restore quality hospital services at the MLK Medical Campus and marks the beginning of a new era in health care delivery in the Willowbrook community and beyond,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

A formal dedication ceremony for the $210 million hospital is planned for Aug. 7. The hospital is part of a $650 million medical campus that already includes an outpatient and urgent care centers. Those centers have been operating in place of Martin Luther King-Drew Medical Center, which was closed in August 2007 after a series of well-publicized lapses in medical care.

While the old King-Drew Medical Center, which opened in 1972, was run by the county, the new hospital is being managed by a governing authority overseen by healthcare, business and law professionals focused exclusively on the facility.

“After much hard work and dedication, we are excited to open our doors to the public,” the hospital CEO, Dr. Elaine Batchlor, said last week.

“We designed this hospital from the ground up to meet the urgent health needs of our community, and we are eager to welcome them. Working with our staff, physicians and partners at the County of Los Angeles and the University of California health-care system, we are bringing compassionate, collaborative, quality care to South Los Angeles.”

MLK Community Hospital has 93 medical/surgical beds, 20 intensive care beds and 18 obstetrical beds. The medical staff includes six hospital-based physician groups. It will offer emergency and general medical care, along with surgical, labor and delivery services.

Hospital officials said the facility will serve “1.35 million residents of South Los Angeles regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.”

“I want to convey heartfelt congratulations to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital staff, the board of directors and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services for all of the tireless work they have invested in making this day a reality,” Ridley-Thomas said. “I look forward to the Aug. 7 community dedication that will celebrate the facility’s formal opening. It is indeed a brand new day at MLK.”

Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, called the hospital a “new beginning” for health care in the Willowbrook area.

“For the last eight years, the communities I represent in Watts and Willowbrook have been struggling without a nearby hospital — much like they were when my father led the efforts to build the original hospital in the 1960s,” Hahn said. “… I have always thought that South L.A. shouldn’t be different from Beverly Hills when it comes to health care and I am encouraged that these families will again have access to life-saving medical care they need at a hospital they can trust in their community.”

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