Willowbrook, MLK

Blessing Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and leaders of different faiths gathered Thursday to pray for the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, which is to be dedicated Friday.

“We want God to bless this place,” the Supervisor said, before leading a procession of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Native Americans in a ceremony to bless 131-bed hospital.

The state-of-the-art facility, which cost $284 million to build, will provide general acute care, primary care, emergency services, and labor and delivery services.

Elaine Batchlor, the hospital’s chief executive officer, called it “a place where faith meets science.” On Thursday, the hospital’s doctors, nurses, other staff and patients received blessings from representatives of

the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church, and Guidance Church of Religious Science.

“I like how God takes things and resurrects them,” Pastor Beverly “Bam” Crawford of the Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church said. “I call for the blessings of God, that the work of God will be done here.”

Representatives from the Islamic Center of Hawthorne, Higashi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Churches for Action, Centro Cristiano LA., the Band of Mission Indians and the L.A. City/County Native American Indian Commission also said prayers.

“May God fill us with love as we celebrate a new beginning in our community,” said Imam Omar Ameen of the Masjid Al-Shareef mosque of Long Beach.

Bishop Juan Mendez of Churches in Action prayed for the hospital’s patients, “I pray for human kindness, a compassionate touch,” he said.

Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim focused on the hospital’s administrative and support staff: “May you know every day that you make a difference,” she said.

The hospital is the centerpiece of a network of preventive care services on the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus, which also features the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center, Center for Public Health, and Mental Health Urgent Care Center.

Construction is either underway, or planned, on a recuperative care center for homeless patients, a building for doctor’s offices, a medical hub for children, and a community garden.

Around the campus, Metro’s Rosa Parks/Willowbrook bus and train stations are also slated for significant upgrades. So are the local public library, senior center, and Kenneth Hahn Plaza.

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Willowbrook is On the Move

Willowbrook, the community where the medical campus is located, was named for a willow tree, an original rancho boundary marker from the 1840’s that once stood near Compton Creek at the present day intersection of 125th Street and Mona Boulevard.  Much time has passed since the original 1843 land grant was given to Anastacio Avila, a member of the family who settled Pueblo de Los Angeles.  And Willowbrook is a place brimming with promise.

Willowbrook’s four square miles are in the midst of unprecedented investment, with the state-of-the-art Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital – to be dedicated August 7 – as the centerpiece.

Still to come are multimillion-dollar renovations to the Rosa Parks Metro station; a new Sheriff’s station, library and senior center, parks and streetscape improvements for Wilmington Avenue – all of which will complement recent upgrades to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus.

A new consensus is emerging: Willowbrook is on the move.

Planning for Phase Two of MLK Community Hospital

Hoping to gain a clear understanding of the services needed and the number of patients that will use the newly opened Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked the Department of Health Services to work with the hospital’s leadership to compile quarterly reports on the number of emergency room visits, hospital occupancy rates and average lengths of stay for patients.

“It is critical that we in the county have this data at our disposal to determine whether additional investments for in-patient services and facilities are required to meet the needs of the surrounding community and service area,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion that was approved. “The opening of this new, state of the art facility has always been the first phase of more to come. We will continue building for the future of this hospital and the other facilities on the MLK campus as it is needed. This community will not be neglected.”

The hospital opened its doors to the public on July 7, marking the beginning of a new era in healthcare delivery at the MLK Medical Campus. The opening is a milestone that allows patients to begin using the 131-bed community hospital. The hospital, which is privately run and is leasing the property from the county, has 21 beds in its emergency room and intensive care unit, a labor and delivery unit as well as four operating rooms equipped with latest technology and 10 post-anesthesia care unit beds in addition to other services.

In addition, the Medical Campus surrounding the hospital offers an Outpatient Center for preventive care, a mental health urgent care center to help patients with psychiatric services, a Center for Public Health offering vaccinations and reproductive health information and soon a recuperative care center for homeless patients to recover after being released from the hospital, a medical office building for doctors to see patients, an autism center and more.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital Receives Official Go-Ahead

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas celebrated the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital receiving the official seal of approval Tuesday from the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare.

“Today is indeed a good day for Los Angeles,” he said. “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.”

“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,” he added. “I look forward to the August 7 community dedication that will celebrate the facility’s formal opening. It is indeed a brand new day at MLK.”

After rigorous inspections, The Joint Commission, which evaluates and accredits more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the United States, concluded that the Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Hospital met standards for safety and quality of care in infection control, surgical services, medical record keeping, pharmaceutical services and a clean physical environment.

Built by Los Angeles County at a cost of $210 million, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital is a state-of-the-art safety net that will provide compassionate, collaborative, quality care – regardless of citizenship or ability to pay. It has 131 beds, including 29 in the Emergency Room and 20 in Intensive Care. However, this is only Phase I of the project and another expansion is envisioned in the future.

The hospital is part of a $650-million medical campus that is a new model for healthcare delivery that emphasizes preventive care and holistic health with an Outpatient Center, Mental Health Urgent Care Center, Center For Public Health and, soon, a Recuperative Care Center serving homeless patients and an office building for doctors.