Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital Turns Five

Five years since its dedication, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital continues to provide outstanding medical care to patients from across South Los Angeles and beyond. The 131-bed community has a bold yet simple mission: providing compassionate, innovative and quality care to the 1.35 million residents of South Los Angeles – regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly, MLKCH CEO Elaine Batchlor, TV Host Shaun Robinson, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Photo by Aurelia Ventura / Board of Supervisors

On the eve of a weekend dedicated to celebrating the venerable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., hundreds of leaders and supporters gathered to celebrate the hospital for the seventh celebration of its kind at the Music Center Grand Hall at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  This year, California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly was honored with the Health Champion Award while television host Shaun Robinson was honored with the Game Changer Award.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas speaks the Seventh Annual Dream Luncheon at the Music Center Grand Hall at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Photo by Aurelia Ventura / Board of Supervisors

“The transformation we have seen in the community of Willowbrook has been nothing short of inconceivable,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.  “But now, not only has there been a transformation of the physical environment of the community we know as Willowbrook – in which the MLK Community Hospital sits at the center – we have seen a transformation of the health care eco-system.”

Los Angeles County invested $284 million to build the hospital, and provided another $171 million in startup funding before handing off responsibility for day-to-day operations to the private nonprofit Martin Luther King, Jr. Los Angeles Healthcare Corporation. It, along with the other facilities that make up the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus, is also uplifting the quality of life in the community.

Twelve years after its closure, the building that once housed the original Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital building is being repurposed into the first-of-its-kind Martin Luther King, Jr. Behavioral Health Center. The MLK Behavioral Health Center is the latest addition to the 42-acre MLK Medical Campus in Willowbrook, which already houses the MLK Community HospitalOutpatient CenterRecuperative Care CenterMental Health Urgent Care Clinic, and Center for Public Health, which includes the Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center. The Child and Family Well-Being Center and the Medical Office Building are under construction and will open later this year.

Over the last decade, well over $1 billion has been invested in Willowbrook, dramatically improving the community’s amenities. In addition to the still-expanding MLK Medical Campus, Willowbrook has also seen improvements in its public transportation system, streets, parks and libraries, as well as a significant expansion in its pool of affordable apartments.

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