[Gloria Molina] – Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina announced today unanimous approval by the Board of Supervisors of her motion approving a 150-bed expansion on the LAC+USC Medical Center campus.
“Today’s vote is a major victory for health care accessibility in Los Angeles County,” Molina said. “With the 150-bed addition, the LAC+USC Medical Center finally will get the 750 beds it always needed. Patients shouldn’t have to wait hours for basic health care. Today’s vote means we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. With a 750-bed hospital, Los Angeles County will be much more competitive, which is critical in the Affordable Care Act era. Our health care system will have to attract and keep patients – even as we continue meeting our state-mandated obligation to give care to anyone needing it.”
Today’s motion requires the current LAC+USC Medical Center Master Plan campus team to start the preliminary planning and technical analyses for a new 150-bed annex, which would relieve the hospital’s overcrowded emergency room and provide more inpatient beds.
Since opening in 2008, the 600-bed, state-of-the-art LAC+USC Medical Center facility – which replaced the 1,100-bed General Hospital – has operated at an average 95 percent utilization rate, which is considerably higher than industry standards. Hospital overcrowding ultimately manifests itself in the form of in excessive wait times for patients – often ten hours or more – as well as diversion of ambulances away from the emergency department. It also requires significant patient overflow transfers to Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey – a stop-gap solution which is neither best for patients nor cost-effective for taxpayers.
“LAC+USC hospital staff are local heroes every single day,” Molina said. “Even with the constraints of a 600-bed hospital, they’ve done their jobs for years with tremendous compassion and unyielding efficiency. Soon, with a 750-bed hospital, LAC+USC staff will have all the tools and resources needed to best provide patients with top quality care.”
Los Angeles County faces additional responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act which could increase use of LAC+USC Medical Center services. After Massachusetts implemented its 2006 universal health care law, demand for emergency room and hospital care increased significantly – with the highest burdens falling on low-income and Latino patients.
“Los Angeles County must be prepared to meet all obligations under the Affordable Care Act, and I commend Dr. Mitch Katz – who heads our Department of Health Services – for prioritizing ‘Obamacare’ implementation at LAC+USC and throughout our entire health care network,” Molina said. “Today’s action is part of a larger effort to transform the county’s health department from a provider of last resort to a provider of choice.”
Los Angeles County already operates the largest health care public-private partnership (PPP) network in the nation, with approximately one in ten county residents using the PPP system. Since 2005, the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles has represented 42 community clinics and health care centers with over 100 facility sites throughout Los Angeles County.