Last week, Los Angeles-based King/Drew Medical Center failed a CMS inspection and was informed that it will lose $200 million--half of the public hospital's budget--as of November 30th. Regulators found that the troubled hospitals didn't meet nine of the 23 standards necessary to qualify for federal funding and that the hospital placed patient safety at risk. Now, Los Angeles County officials are scrambling to find a way to save the hospital. "Los Angeles County has suffered the loss of several emergency rooms and hundreds of inpatient beds in the past decade as private hospitals have shut down. Losing similar services at King-Drew would push the strain onto the few other hospitals remaining in that part of our county," noted Supervisor Don Knabe in the Los Angeles Times. Most recently, Centinela Freeman HealthSystem in Inglewood, CA said that it will close the doors to its emergency room as of November.
King/Drew has been in trouble for quite some time. At a federal regulator meeting several months back, champion figure skater and orthopedic surgeon Debi Thomas withdrew her support for the hospital. She claimed that in the midst of King/Drew's renovation, administrators closed all but two operating rooms and cut the number of overnight anesthesiologists. Allegedly, many patients--some with open wounds--had to wait days for surgery. Thomas, who practiced at the hospital, was formerly one of its biggest supporters. Though regulators often threaten hospitals with the loss of federal funding, only in rare cases do they follow through, as yanking the funds spells death for most hospitals.
For more on King/Drew's fate:
- read this Los Angeles Times article