The shuttering of the hospital in 2007 directly impacted the predominantly African-American and Latino nearby communities.
More than 1 million residents from Compton, Inglewood and other neighborhoods across South Los Angeles will soon have access to much needed health care and new job opportunities. Eight years after its closure due to a series of troubles, the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital is set to open in Willowbrook in early 2015, according to hospital officials.
More than 10 inpatient and outpatient services will be offered, including anesthesiology, medical and diagnostic cardiology, emergency medicine, endocrinology and gastroenterology. New measures will also be taken to ensure and decrease hospital scandals, hygiene issues and unqualified staff, the Los Angeles Sentinel reports.
“We’re not done yet, we have a lot to do and we are going to do it,” said supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We are putting in the kind of services that meet the needs and the demands of that population.”
The hospital first opened in 1972 in the wake of the 1965 Watts riots, serving uninsured and underinsured patients from the predominantly African-American and Latino surrounding communities. Residents in the South Los Angeles area were left without a major hospital providing indigent care when the institution was shut down in 2007. The closing also resulted in a lack of nearby emergency rooms and a loss of hospital jobs.
In 2009, the University of California entered into an agreement with Los Angeles County to create a private, nonprofit corporation that would jointly reopen and run Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.
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(Photo: Courtesy Martin Luther King Community Hospital)