Many Los Angeles hospitals in financial trouble

Apparently, a frightening percentage of hospitals in the Los Angeles metro are fighting for their lives. According to a new analysis, almost two dozen hospitals in the area are in the red and could face bankruptcy or closure. These hospitals represent about 15 percent of the beds in the metro, so if any meaningful number of them were to go offline, the stress to the region's already overburdened health system could be immense.

Metro LA has already struggled to cope with the loss of several community clinics in hospitals, most recently the troubled Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital. King/Harbor's closure added 47,000 new patients to the existing hospitals' patient load. With public facilities like King/Harbor in trouble or closing, the number of uninsured patients heading to private hospitals has climbed substantially. Add in lower rates to smaller hospitals, mandated nurse-to-patient ratios and the need for capital investment to earthquake-proof facilities, just to name a few stressors, and you have a situation likely to deteriorate, observers say.

To find out more about the hospitals' situation:
- read this Los Angeles Times article

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