Drew U files $125M suit against CA county

Upset at losing its contract with Los Angeles county, Charles R. Drew University School of Medicine and Science has announced that it will sue the county for $125 million. Late last year, county leaders decided to terminate the contract between the school and the county's Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center (now known as Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital). The termination was part of some sweeping changes made to the Watts-area hospital's management after it failed a CMS inspection. The CMS threat had put $200 million--most of its budget--in danger of being yanked, making the future of the facility uncertain.

To stave off decertification, the county restructured the hospital into a smaller, non-teaching hospital managed by county facility Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. As part of the move, the county terminated support to 248 medical residents in Drew's teaching program. The lawsuit alleges that in withdrawing support for residencies at the former King/Drew, the county has "betrayed" the poor and medically indigent who relied on the hospital's newly-minted doctors. At the moment, however, the issue is moot; the university closed its residency program late last year and sent many of its residents to other programs.

To find out more about the dispute:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece