The Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center mural – A community undertaking

Watts, Willowbrook, and Compton residents met to give their input to the artists who will design the Martin Luther King Multi- Service Ambulatory Care Center walkway at a creative workshop at the Hudson Auditorium in Willowbrook. The workshop was held to encourage community members to share their thoughts and ideas both pictorially and verbally for what they would like to see on panels that will make up the 800-foot-long panel at the Martin Luther King Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center. Community members of all ages used colored pencils, crayons and markers to make their artistic visions come to life on butcher paper. The artists will use these sketches to collaboratively incorporate the ideas presented at the workshop into a mural for the new Martin Luther King Medical Campus.

The workshop was spearheaded by Watts, Willowbrook, and Compton local artist- Toni Love, Carlos Spivey, and Ronald Jackson. The three artists were selected by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Civic Art Program to design the mural. These artists will bring their backgrounds of mural design, computer animation, and fine art together to create a mural that symbolizes the Willowbrook community. When asked what he likes most about working on this particular mural project, artist Ronald Jackson said,” I like the community involvement. I think this mural will inspire something in people-especially young people.” He went on to say,” I hope young people will recall the reality of artists living and working in the community.” Aside form being something nice to see when passing by, artist Toni Love said that she believes the completed mural will represent the pride of the community.

This workshop will be the first of a series of community meetings. For more information, please contact Mimi Klabom at: (310) 614-4364.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ Statement on Lap Band Advertising

Obesity and the health problems that accompany the condition are urgent public health problems in many of the communities I represent. Predatory business practices pose another threat to the well-being of residents in low-income neighborhoods. Overly aggressive advertising for lap band surgeries has the potential to combine those two threats, sometimes with deadly consequences. Although the surgery centers in question are not located in my district, many of the billboards advertising them are, and I suspect therefore that many of the patients come from the areas I represent.

All one has to do is drive through those communities with the car radio on to see and hear the ads urging people to “get thin.” The ads tout easy insurance coverage while seemingly downplaying the difficulty of the choice patients must make when considering the procedure – including health risks.

At the request of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Food and Drug Administration has warned several surgery centers about the misleading nature of their advertising.

I hope the advertisers of lap band surgeries will now take this chance to inform the public responsibly.

The federal government has put them on notice, and they are the primary enforcer of medical advertising standards, but the County can also play a role in protecting our residents. Public Health officials and I are discussing actions the County can take to ensure serious health problems are not trivialized as issues of physical attractiveness.

Our options may include stepped up public health advertising and education campaigns promoting health and nutrition, not thinness. We might also address head-on the potential dangers of lap band surgery with our own billboards and ads.

We may also consider outdoor advertising restrictions where possible. Just as the County has worked with the federal government on this issue, we can also collaborate with cities, the state and our representatives in congress to find ways to protect vulnerable consumers from being misled.

[download_button link=””]Click here to view the news release[/download_button]

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina call for outreach strategy for In-Home Supportive Services recipients program

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday braced for severe cuts to the County’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), a program that provides at-home assistance for eligible seniors, people who are legally blind and people with disabilities. For many of the 184,000 County’s recipients, receiving a few hours a month of care allows them to remain at home instead of moving into a nursing home or board and care facility.

If next month’s state revenue forecast falls short of $87 billion, the California Department of Social Services (DPSS) will be required to slash the hours of monthly service to IHSS recipients by 20 percent. Current revenues indicate that the planned cuts are likely to be implemented by January 1, 2012, and DPSS estimates that the majority of Los Angeles County residents who receive IHSS benefits, as well as the majority of their 140,039 providers, will lose an average of 16 hours of service and/or work.

“These potential budget reductions could have far reaching implications on the quality of life of more than 300,000 residents of the County of Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, before the Board vote. “IHSS impacts all five districts in a very important way.”

Acting on a joint motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina, the board directed Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka to assemble a task force that will develop an outreach strategy to inform consumers of the change and to prepare to process the anticipated high numbers of consumers who will likely request and submit applications for exclusion.

Although this 20 percent reduction is not subject to appeal, consumers can request an evaluation to be excluded from the cut and maintain the same level of service. To do so, however, recipients must submit an application for exclusion to the Department of Public Social Services within 15 days of receiving a notice of action.

Rachel Scherer of Disability Rights California applauded the steps taken by the Board, warning that the service cuts could trigger a “humanitarian crisis.” People with Alzheimer’s disease who need prompting from workers to take their medication or to eat, she said, could be left to languish.

“People will die in their homes or will have to go to a nursing home or facility,” Scherer said.

The Board also approved a friendly amendment by Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky instructing the Department of Health Services to evaluate the impact of the 20 percent reduction on IHSS providers. The workers who care for the at-home care population are themselves vulnerable to losing health care coverage, should their hours of work fall below state requirements.

Kiya Stokes of the Service Employees International Union also spoke in favor of the supervisors’ motion, noting that care providers who do not meet the 77-hour monthly quota could themselves need county assistance obtaining health care.

The Board directed the CEO to determine how many workers would lose their health care benefits, what would be the impact to the County and whether those workers would be eligible for alternative coverage such as that provided by Healthy Way L.A..

Click here for press release (as PDF document).

Board approves $3.97 million for Hubert Humphrey Urgent Care Center

Hubert Humphrey Urgent Care Center in South Los Angeles will soon be receiving an upgrade and increasing its capacity to serve the public. The Board of Supervisors today allocated nearly four million to remodel the 6,000-square-foot Urgent Care facility.

The action by the Board authorizes J.R. Abbot Construction to design and construct a new 2,000-square-foot waiting room, seven new exam rooms, add 50 additional parking spaces, renovate the security office and upgrade the fire alarm system throughout the facility.

“This facility is located approximately four miles from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center Campus,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, “It is my goal to see that constituents have access top quality medical care right in their own community.”

As part of the Board’s approval of the expansion project, a local worker hire component affixed to the project will ensure that local residents have first priority when contractors select workers for construction of the urgent care center. Residents who live within a five-mile radius will be given priority at the time of hiring, and County residents in zip codes where unemployment exceeds 150% of the county average also will now have special access to jobs.

“The local worker hire component of this renovation project will create jobs where they are most needed,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, “And at the same time this renovation ensures that county residents will receive valuable services in a refurbished facility for decades to come.”

Click here for press release (as PDF document).

Healthy Way LA health care coverage program

What is Healthy Way LA?

Healthy Way LA is a no-cost health care program available to low-income residents of Los Angeles County.  People who qualify for the program can choose from more than 100 different locations to receive health care.

Who is eligible?
Adults who meet the following criteria:

  • Are United States citizens or have been legal permanent resident for at least five years
  • Are Los Angeles County residents
  • Are between 19 and 64 years of age
  • Have a monthly income at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, or  $1,207 per month for a family of one.
  • Are not pregnant and not eligible for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families

How do I enroll?
To enroll in Healthy Way LA you must fill out an application and provide proof of citizenship/legal resident status, Los Angeles County residency, personal identification, and income.  Your original documents will be photocopied and returned to you.  Some examples of acceptable documents are:

  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • U.S. Birth Certificate or Military Record
  • Driver’s License, School Identification with photo, or U.S. Military Identification card
  • Evidence of income (i.e., current paycheck stubs, Federal Income Tax Return, California Unemployment or Disability income, award letters, etc.)

Where to apply for Healthy Way LA*:

Harbor/UCLA Medical Center
Patient Financial Services
1000 West Carson Street
Building 3-South
Torrance, CA 90509
(310) 222-3012

LAC+USC Medical Center
1100 N. State Street, Room A6F
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 409-4383
(323) 409-4779

Olive View/UCLA Medical Center
14445 Olive View Drive
2nd Floor, Room 2D142
Sylmar, CA 91342

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
7601 E. Imperial Hwy, Building 602
Downey, CA 90242
(562) 401-7320

High Desert Health System
Munsie Building – ORSA/HWLA Office
44900 North 60th St. West
Lancaster, CA 93536
(661) 945-8227

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center
12021 S. Wilmington Ave.,
Floor 5A, Room 7
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(310) 668-3200

*Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please click here for a PDF version of a printable notice that you will need to take with you for HWLA.  For help or additional information call 877-333-HWLA.