Kaiser Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical Offices Now Open

With the opening of the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical Office Building, more than 50,000 members of the community will have greater access to innovative, high-quality care in their own neighborhood.

Photos by Henry Salazar / Board of Supervisors

“Members of the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw community will now have access to a first-rate, state-of-the-art, care experience,” Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Designed with the community in mind, this new facility will offer many convenient features and services to help Kaiser Permanente members and their families live healthier lives.

The new facility will have 60 primary and specialty care doctors providing adult primary care, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, health education classes, optometry, pediatrics, and physical therapy, among other services.  A pharmacy, lab, and nurse clinic will all be housed under one roof.

Altogether, the facility spans 100,000 square feet of space, and also includes two miles of walking paths to promote health and wellness.


Sickle Cell Clinic Celebrates 1st Anniversary at MLK

All photos by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center celebrates the first anniversary of its Sickle Cell Disease Clinic to serve adults suffering from this painful and sometimes deadly blood condition. It is estimated there are 5,100 sickle cell patients in Southern California, most of whom are African American. Sickle cell disease can lead to numerous complications, including anemia, recurring pain episodes, respiratory troubles, and even death.

“It has been a great year for advancing treatment of sickle cell disease in the County of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas at the clinic’s recent celebration of its first year in operation.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new medication called Endari that was developed by researcher Dr. Yutaka Niihara from LA Biomed and the Harbor UCLA faculty to help treat the condition.

Once thought of as a childhood illness, sickle cell disease is also common among adults since many with this condition are now living into adulthood thanks to improved treatments. But it can be challenging to find clinics with the expertise and resources to appropriately manage patients with this complex condition.

“Adults with sickle cell disease deserve health care providers that understand the disease, its complications, and their pain. Knowing the people who worked hard to open this clinic gives me confidence it will meet the community’s needs,” said Mary Brown, Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California.

The new clinic is the first new focused facility in decades built to serve adults in Los Angeles County with sickle cell disease.

Training the Next Generation of Doctors

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center CEO Jorge Orosco, Drew School of Medicine Dean Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, and Drew University President Dr. David Carlisle testify before the Board in support of creating the residency programs. All photos by Martin Zamora/Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors has voted to create a residency program at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science that will train a new generation of doctors to serve patients in South Los Angeles and beyond.

Acting on a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn and Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board approved up to $800,000 in startup funds to establish residency programs in both psychiatry and family medicine, with the first class scheduled in June.

The psychiatry residents will focus on ambulatory services in communities that comprise the County’s Service Planning Area 6, which includes Athens, Compton, Crenshaw, Florence, Hyde Park, Lynwood, Paramount and Watts. Meanwhile, family medicine residents will do their inpatient work at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, and outpatient rotations at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center in Willowbrook.

“I believe that these residency programs will greatly help the County recruit homegrown doctors to serve our patients,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I’m hopeful that many of these residents will also choose to stay with the County after they finish their residencies, reducing our reliance on contract physicians. ”

“Nationwide, we have a shortage of primary care clinicians, and the need is particularly acute in the communities surrounding Drew University,” Board Chairman Ridley-Thomas said. “I am hopeful that many of these trainees will opt to practice locally upon their graduation.”

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, dean of the Drew School of Medicine, said the residency programs would be a win for both patients and postgraduate medical students. “We bring not only our expertise and talent, but our dedication to developing a culturally competent physician workforce,” she said.

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center CEO Jorge Orosco said, “This training program could, in the long term, serve as a pipeline for new attending physicians to join the medical staff at Rancho.”

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is an accredited Graduate Medical Education Sponsoring Institution. The Family Medicine residency is scheduled to begin in June with eight residents, and is expected to enroll 24 residents by 2020. The Psychiatry residency will also begin in June with four residents and is expected to enroll 16 residents by 2021.


First Farmers Market Open Wednesdays in Willowbrook

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus now boasts of hosting the first farmers market at a Los Angeles County medical facility. The wellness center seeks to promote healthy habits within the Willowbrook community, and the weekly farmers market represents the latest innovation and addition to the campus.

“Access to fresh and affordable fruits and veggies allow for the formation of healthy habits,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas at the ribbon cutting for the new farmers market.

The collaboration is the result of a partnership among the Office of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) and the MLK Outpatient Center. SEE-LA is also providing weekly nutrition classes in English and Spanish through a grant from the Department of Public Health. At the market, patrons will be able to use CalFresh EBT cards and WIC checks. Additionally, SEE-LA offers “Market Match” which doubles the purchasing power of WIC fruit and vegetable checks and CalFresh up to $10 per day.

“This is your market and we hope you use it,” said James Haydu, Executive Director of SEE-LA.

The Farmers Market features fresh produce as well as local vendors– just the prescription for fighting obesity and other chronic diseases.

“But it’s also part of the prescription for being able to get outside, meet your neighbors, and enjoy your community,” the Supervisor said.

The farmers market will be held every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. along the breezeway between the MLK Outpatient Center and the Community Hospital.

Contingency Planning Amid ACA Uncertainty

Los Angeles County’s Health Care Reform Working Group testifying before the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 15. All photos by Bryan Chan/Board of Supervisors

Statement by Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas on Contingency Planning amid efforts to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

I would like to thank all members of this healthcare reform task force for their hard work on this important topic.

While Congress is not actively discussing “repeal” legislation, that could change at any moment. For that reason, this remains an issue we are taking very seriously in LA County.

Let me begin by stating, unequivocally, that I am committed to doing everything within my power to maintain the hard-fought gains we’ve made under the ACA in LA County, regardless of what Congress ends up doing.

Let’s review the facts. Though far from perfect, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare – has greatly expanded healthcare coverage in Los Angeles County. According to the presentation we just heard:

The uninsured rate in our County dropped from approximately 21% of residents in 2013 prior to ACA implementation to about 11% in 2015.

Altogether, approximately 1.2 million individuals gained Medi-Cal coverage via the ACA in LA County and an additional 380,000 individuals received subsidized coverage through Covered California, the State-based insurance exchange.

Those who were covered include many of the poorest and most vulnerable residents of Los Angeles, including a large proportion of children, as well as the working poor.

As of May 2017, more than 70,000 undocumented children 0-19 years of age have gained health coverage thanks to passage of SB 75.

Additionally, nationwide, the ACA has increased minimum health benefits, and access to preventative care, women’s health services, and other essential health benefits like emergency care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and out-of-network services.

It has also prohibited health plans from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

In doing so, the ACA has raised the bar on health care for not just the newly insured, but for everyone.

I would like to commend our County Health Agency, as well as the numerous community groups, advocates, private clinics and hospitals, and others who helped get the word out to ensure those who were eligible got covered.

These advances are precisely what is at stake with efforts to repeal Obamacare. Put simply, if repeal legislation were to be passed, the state of California would risk losing billions of healthcare dollars annually. This would put at risk the major advances in health care coverage and access that have occurred over the past few years.

I am heartened to learn that many others within the state, including my colleagues here on the Board of Supervisors, feel as I do that the ACA has been a very good thing for LA County, and that we should do everything within our power to maintain the gains we’ve made.

If the ACA ends up being repealed – which I very much hope it won’t be – I am glad to hear our leaders within LA County have been working hard to develop contingency plans.

While there are many nuances still being worked out, it is clear to me that our healthcare reform working group has put forth some important ideas that could help mitigate the potential effects of “repeal”, and improve healthcare for the residents of LA County regardless of the outcome.

For this reason, I would like to use this as an opportunity to read-in a motion recognizing the hard work our County leaders have done to develop contingency plans should “repeal” occur.

This motion would also establish a process for ensuring that the recommendations this group comes up with in collaboration with statewide stakeholders come to the Board for consideration in a timely way.

I want to conclude by stating, unequivocally, that I believe healthcare is a basic human right that ought to transcend politics. Too many people suffer and die without that right.

Thank you.

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