Historically Black Hospital in Los Angeles Faces Additional Problems, Officials Say
There are "new signs of turmoil" at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based hospital that has historically served the county's poor and black neighborhoods, officials said on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rosenblatt/Connell, Los Angeles Times 6/12).
In 2006, county officials decided to transform the facility from a 537-bed teaching hospital serving mostly minority patients to a community inpatient facility providing only basic services. The action came after the hospital failed a federal inspection, which put $200 million in federal funding under question (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 3/7).
A report by county Health Department Director Bruce Chernof to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors stated that 47% of the 285 licensed vocational nurses at the hospital recently failed to pass detailed skills tests on their first attempt, though most passed after several attempts and "virtually all" passed after additional training.
In addition, Roger Peeks, chief medical officer at King-Harbor, on Monday was placed on "ordered absence" for what health officials called a confidential personnel matter, according to the Times.
Chernof cited specific incidences that indicate the facility has provided inadequate care to patients. Last week, federal inspectors said that emergency department patients were in "immediate jeopardy" of harm or death and gave the facility 23 days to make improvements or lose federal funding. Chernof noted that "there have been gains in the quality of care" despite problems, adding, "I am more confident today than I was six months ago about the care at MLK-Harbor" (Los Angeles Times 6/12).