Thursday, January 25, 2018
Grant Funds for Increasing Needed Physicians in South Los Angeles
Willowbrook, CA, Jan. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH), a private, nonprofit hospital serving South Los Angeles, has been pledged $15 million from the Weingart Foundation and Ballmer Group in support of the hospital’s affiliated nonprofit MLK Community Medical Group (MLK CMG). The gifts, allocated as $7.5 million from each entity and distributed over five years, take aim at closing South Los Angeles’ critical physician gap, estimated at 1,200 primary care and specialty physicians.
The consequence of the area’s physician shortage is felt daily at MLKCH. Since the hospital opened in 2015, its Emergency Department has seen more than double the projected number of patients—and those patients have been younger and sicker than expected. More than half of the patients discharged from MLKCH say they have no regular doctor. Without doctors for the hospital to refer patients to, leaders took it upon themselves to find a way to recruit them—creating the medical group in 2016.
"Addressing inequities in our southern California communities is the focus of our foundation's giving," explains Fred Ali, president and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “There’s a profound shortage of doctors practicing in South Los Angeles. The hospital is exploring a promising way to eliminate that disparity and we're eager to help them make progress."
The MLK Community Medical Group offers the first viable vehicle in South Los Angeles to attract talented and diverse physicians who want to serve a safety-net community. As a not-for-profit corporation, it’s guided by a mission: to improve population health. This is no small feat in a community where death rates from chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, for example, are significantly higher than the county average.