Billionaire offers $100M to re-open troubled Los Angeles hospital

A billionaire who made his fortune in the pharmaceutical industry has stepped up with a $100 million guarantee dedicated to helping the University of California re-open the city's Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital. 

Patrick Soon-Shiong wants to help the university open Harbor Hospital's doors again by 2012. Soon-Shiong, a former UCLA surgeon, contends that the renewed facility could be "the county hospital of the future," he told the Los Angeles Times.

Soon-Shiong's enthusiasm may seem a bit odd given the history of MLK-Harbor, whose inpatient services were shut down in the wake of a wave of deaths and medical errors. Still, he contends that it's important to make the effort, since the community it served now has little immediate access to care.

Under the terms of his proposal, Los Angeles County will receive a $100-million letter of credit, which will guarantee the $63 million a year they expect it to cost to run the new MLK-Harbor. Soon-Shiong's guarantee would secure the proposal, and once that's accomplished, the plan's backers expect to re-open as a nonprofit 120-bed facility.

To learn more about the proposed facility:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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