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Kaiser to open medical facility in South Los Angeles

The $10-million, 15,000-square-foot building will provide primary care and some specialty care to 80,000 members of the healthcare organization who live in the area.

November 06, 2009|Scott Gold

Kaiser Permanente unveiled plans Thursday for a $10-million medical office building that will offer primary care, some specialty care and other services to 80,000 South Los Angeles residents who are members of Kaiser's healthcare plan.

Kaiser's 15,000-square-foot South Los Angeles medical offices are expected to open in 2011 on the southeast corner of West Manchester and South Denker avenues. A vacant building on the site will be torn down to make way for the new facility. Construction is scheduled to begin soon.

In recent years, a series of public and private hospitals across South Los Angeles have closed or been scaled back, compounding what civic leaders call South L.A.'s inadequate access to healthcare. So Kaiser's announcement was well-received in the area, warranting a public celebration replete with a youth gospel choir.

About 80,000 of the 3.3 million Kaiser members in Southern California live in South L.A.

Many of them travel to Kaiser facilities in West L.A., Lynwood and elsewhere for primary care.

That's no small matter in an impoverished part of the city where one in five households does not have a car, said Tumani Leatherwood, a family-medicine physician who has been with Kaiser for 24 years and is the physician in charge at the new facility.

"They want easy access," she said. "And they want everything in one place."

The facility will have between eight and 10 physicians on staff, including two pediatricians, Leatherwood said. Patients will also be able to get X-rays, lab tests and prescriptions.

"While the opening of Kaiser Permanente's new facility won't solve the healthcare crisis in the area, it takes a practical step in closing such gaps," Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.

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scott.gold@latimes.com

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