Willowbrook, MLK

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.

Ridley-Thomas Advocates for Level I Trauma Center in South LA

Doctors and nurses pushing patient on gurney through emergency room

Given the high incidence of trauma-related deaths in the South Los Angeles area, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has asked county officials to determine how to bring a Level I trauma care center to South Los Angeles.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion, which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors June 30, asks for a comprehensive report to be completed by the fall which will include a timeline detailing the necessary steps.

Level 1 trauma centers have more resources available to provide total care for every aspect of trauma injury, from prevention through rehabilitation.  They are also research and teaching facilities.

“Ensuring quality trauma care is a priority for me,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “We need more information and analysis to get a complete picture of the county’s trauma care needs. In particular, the trauma care system must provide intensive services, including trauma prevention strategies in those ‘hot spot’ areas with persistently high trauma mortality rates.”

The latest data shows that Los Angeles County as a whole has one of the best trauma care systems in the world, with the overall mortality rate at 3.6 percent well below the national average of 4.2 percent. However, South Los Angeles accounts for 20 percent of the trauma-related deaths, while it is only 10 percent of Los Angeles County’s population.

The new MLK Community Hospital, which is scheduled to open this summer, will have an Emergency Department with 21 beds, staffed 24-hours a day, seven-days a week to treat serious, life-threatening conditions that are not caused by traumatic injuries. 

“I look forward to the report in the fall so we can move as quickly as possible on this effort,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

Dr. Mitchell Katz, Director of the Department of Health Services, supported the motion stating that: “We are committed to placing the most extensive resources in the areas that they are most needed.  South LA had a level one trauma unit in the past because of the high rate of trauma in that section of the county, and we want to restore that capability.”