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Supes urge UC regents to act quickly on King hospital

August 25, 2009 |  7:01 pm

The Willowbrook facility, pictured in 2005, has been closed to inpatient care for two years. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County supervisors voted today to send a letter to the University of California regents urging them to take swift action on the proposal to reopen Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Willowbrook.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the letter will tell the regents that the county may lose $50 million in federal stimulus funds if the university does not soon agree to form a partnership with the county to reopen the long-troubled hospital.

Although the agenda for the regents' next meeting had not been issued and it was still uncertain that King would be discussed, Ridley-Thomas said he would travel to the meeting in San Francisco beginning Sept. 15 to lobby the regents as they gather.

“It will be on the agenda. It needs to be more than an information item, it needs to be an action item,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The hospital, formerly known as King-Drew Medical Center and King-Harbor Hospital, shut down inpatient services in August 2007 after years of repeated failures to provide adequate care, including errors involved in multiple deaths. It since has operated as an outpatient clinic.

The decision to send a letter to the regents came a week after county supervisors voted to ask them to commit to partnering with the county to reopen the long-troubled hospital by 2012.

---Garrett Therolf reporting from the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration

Related: UC regents are urged to act on King hospital

Photo: The Willowbrook facility, pictured in 2005, has been closed to inpatient care for two years. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times
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