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Cardiac Care Is a Gift From the Heart

CNN's Larry King, who had a bypass in 1997, joins with County-USC to offer free surgery for up to 100 uninsured patients a year.

July 27, 2006|Juliet Chung | Times Staff Writer

Thanks to a new partnership, about 300 uninsured patients who otherwise would be unable to pay for cardiac care will be able to afford such treatment at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, officials announced Wednesday.

The funds covering patients' care will come from the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the CNN commentator and his family after he underwent a successful quintuple bypass heart surgery in 1997.

"There's no greater war than what happens in this hospital every day," King said at a news conference Wednesday, explaining his decision to partner with County-USC. "It's a war of saving lives, it's a war against ill health and a war against disease and a war against injury."

The foundation expects to cover 75 to 100 charity cases annually over the next three years by providing patients free medical devices and paying for their time in the operating room.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday July 29, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
Medical center partnership: An article in Thursday's California section about a new partnership between the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center said King, the CNN commentator who founded the group with his family, had successful quintuple bypass heart surgery in 1997. The operation was in 1987.

Hospital officials estimated the cost of covering cardiac treatment for 100 patients at $750,000.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the partnership, saying it would help meet the county's enormous healthcare needs. The county is home to about 2 million uninsured people, the largest such group in the state.

"This is the kind of public-private partnership that we need," he said. "We need to be creative. We need to ensure that people have the kind of healthcare that they need."

County-USC sees about 1,200 patients annually who are uninsured and need cardiac care, said Pete Delgado, chief executive of LAC+USC Healthcare Network.

He said the partnership would help ease the financial burden the hospital bears in treating those patients.

Approved in January by county supervisors, the partnership already has covered the cost of care for 23 patients.

It marks the first time the foundation, which operates nationally, has partnered with a public hospital.

L.A. Care Health Plan, a Los Angeles-based health maintenance organization, also donated $100,000 to the partnership.

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