The much feared communication has at last arrived at The Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor hospital, operated by the Los Angeles County department of Health Services.
It would be closed down. Period. No arguments. No more hopes. The letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that "repeated certification surveys and complaint investigations have identified serious health and safety violations and documented the hospital's inability to comply with these federal standards."
That verdict, the culmination of more than four years of federal and local scrutiny over patient deaths attributed to poor care, will result in the loss of $200 million in federal support, half the budget for the hospital, a county facility.
At a news conference Friday, county officials said the hospital would probably close within two weeks, after patients were moved to other hospitals.
All 911 calls will direct ambulances to one of the nine other hospitals in South Los Angeles. An urgent care center will operate on the site 16 hours a day.
The hospital is located near crime hotspots, and serves poor and minorities in South Los Angeles. Predictably it has been going to seed for sometime.
Complaints of incompetence and mismanagement have poured in and some periodical attempts at overhauling are made.
The death of a woman on the floor of the Emergency Room lobby in the hospital recently once again turned the spotlight on the pathetic conditions there.
After shocking details emerged of the callousness of the hospital staff and a senator pitched in, blasting those responsible, S. Kimberly Belshe, the state's health and human services secretary, said she had thought Hospital had been making a lot of progress toward correcting its problems -- at least until now.
``We are all so taken aback by the recent incidents at MLK-Harbor,