King-Drew Medical Center to Operate Under Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
LOS ANGELES – On Oct. 3 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to merge the Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center of Willowbrook with County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance.
The plan is a last resort means to rescue the King-Drew Medical Center from shutting down after the facility failed a federal inspection. The hospital may lose $200 million in funding as early as the end of November.
The medical center would be renamed the Harbor-Martin Luther King Jr. Community hospital, and it would lose its teaching hospital status. It would continue to provide basic medical services and manage a 24-hour emergency room, but would no longer provide complicated procedures such as obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, pediatrics, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, complex orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology and some types of oral surgery.
Employees at the hospital would be redistributed to 5,000 open positions at other facilities throughout the county health system.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the proposed merger, however. Some Harbor-UCLA medical officials worry that their resources would be strained to their limits if the merger took place.
Many Harbor-UCLA doctors, however, are sympathetic to the needs of the community served by King-Drew, and say they will try to accommodate the new workload.
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