Anyone not see this one coming? No? I thought not.
Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital has fallen on troubled times. The only hospital in a violent and underserved area of Watts, the hospital has been on the chopping block for some time, desperately trying to get its shit together to stay open. They already had their trauma ward shut down, had their affiliated King-Drew school come under fire, have lots of preventable deaths, and managed to lose a radioactive diaper.
In July a federal inspection from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was conducted. Announced today were the findings that the hospital failed 8 of 23 points needed to maintain compliance with federal standards. Think about that for a second. The hospital went below Medicaid's standards. Considering that we have one of the shoddiest public health systems in the entire world, that's pretty fucking sad.
So what does this all mean?
Well, first of all, the hospital will be getting no Federal funding. Half the hospital's budget has come from the Feds to the tune of about $200 million. Buh-bye. Wave to the money folks. It's going away.
And that's actually a good thing. This place is a shithole. It is offering sub-standard care to a segment of the population that desperately needs help. These people are the uninsured and the uninsurable. They come to the hospital because it's their last shot. They don't see a doctor until things are so bad simply because they can't afford it. Emergency room visits have been known to last days.
Then there's the community infighting between the black and Latino population of Watts. They can't seem to see eye to eye with each other enough to help turn the hospital into a fucking hospital and not a political bullet point. I honestly wonder some times if people want a hospital or just something else huge to bitch about.
Thank god the trauma center was already closed. Don't get me wrong, I think the trauma ward was the only good thing about the place. But gangbangers would just kick their buddies out of the car when they got shot up too much to just get a couple stitches. The trauma center was a nightmare factory for the doctor's and nurses, patching up the same kids over and over again, losing too many people to multiple GSW's and stab wounds. Let Harbor handle it. At least there they've shown that they can handle the after care with something resembling competence.
MLK needs to be shuttered. It has proven, time and again, that it can't keep itself in order, its patients safe, or deliver even the lowest standard of quality care. It needs to be replaced from the ground up. Close the hospital, fire the staff, hire new doctors and nurses. Enough of them this time. And ones that have been trained somewhere else than at MLK. Sink some money into competent security. Take the control away from the fucking County Health Department and give it to someone who knows how to handle a hospital and treat patients.
This farce has gone on for too many years. It needs to change. The people deserve it, the city deserves it. Close the place down.