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L.A. County supervisors OK partnership with UC to reopen King hospital

Restructured facility, scheduled to begin service in 2013, will be overseen by a new nonprofit agency with a seven-member board.

December 02, 2009|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

In the latest step toward creating a new Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday to partner with the UC Board of Regents to reopen the hospital by 2013.

"This is going to be a good partnership for them and, more importantly, for the clients we serve," Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said.

The regents voted Nov. 19 to approve the agreement and provide 14 to 20 full-time physicians in addition to medical oversight for the proposed inpatient hospital.

The hospital will be overseen by a new nonprofit agency governed by a seven-member board of directors -- two appointed by the UC president, two by Los Angeles County officials and three jointly.

The directors, whom officials hope to name within a year, must have at least 10 years experience in healthcare. The agreement with the University of California system is a crucial step in reviving the long-troubled facility, which shut down two years ago after repeated findings that inadequate care had led to patients' injuries and deaths.

"This is not a matter that exclusively benefits one community," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose district includes King. "This is effectively a reinforcement and an undergirding of the county's safety net."

Ridley-Thomas said he has scheduled a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at the Willowbrook hospital's auditorium. The hospital, built in 1972, will be considerably smaller under the latest plan: 120 beds instead of 233, with an emergency room and three operating rooms.

Plans call for a new outpatient clinic and substantial interior construction at the existing tower at a cost of more than $350 million.

Supervisors on Tuesday ordered the county's chief executive officer, William T Fujioka, to report within a month on how much it will cost to form a project team to create the hospital nonprofit agency and associated financial and legal agreements.

molly.hennessy-fiske

@latimes.com

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