Leaders in Health and Health Care Urge UC Regents to Support Partnership between University of California and King/Drew Medical Center
Group of Public/Private Institutions Stand At-the-Ready to Improve Health Services in South L.A.
LOS ANGELES----Leaders of six health foundations, health plans and health care providers have come together to urge the University of California Regents to support a proposed partnership between Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center and the University of California to pave the way for the reopening of the health care facility by 2012.
In a letter to the UC Regents, the group pledged to work with county officials, community health centers and civic leaders to create a new public-private model of health services for South Los Angeles. “This new approach, taking advantage of advances in health information technology, would do much to enhance the quality of care, improve health outcomes and reduce fragmentation and inefficiency in health care delivery,” said the letter.
The signers of the letter are Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan; Lloyd H. Dean, President and CEO, Catholic Healthcare West; Eugene Grigsby, Ph.D., President and CEO, National Health Foundation; Howard A. Kahn, CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan; Mary Odell, President, UniHealth Foundation; and Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and CEO, The California Endowment.
“South Los Angeles faces some of the most daunting challenges and greatest health disparities of any community in the state,” Ross said. “There simply are not enough hospital beds to meet the community’s need and that is unacceptable. The residents of South Los Angeles deserve better and this partnership holds the promise that they will get it.”
Amidst the groundswell of support for the reopening of the facility, the county is fast-tracking design and construction plans for the medical center in an effort to qualify for federal stimulus funding for “shovel-ready projects.” And Los Angeles pharmaceutical billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has pledged a $100 million loan guaranty to underwrite the reopening of the medical center.
“The necessary elements for a successful reopening of the medical center are coming together,” added Ross. “We're ready to get to work as soon as the Regents say the word."
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment makes grants to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the health and well-being of the people of California. To date, The Endowment has awarded over 11,000 grants across California totaling more than $2 billion. For more information, visit The Endowment’s Web site at www.calendow.org.