Re-opening a Community Hospital: Why Are Activists Still Blocking It?

Only one, small, for-profit hospital has stepped forward to take the risk of re-opening a Los Angeles County community hospital that had such an atrocious record that the County closed it last August. Recognizing its own incompetence, the County Board of Supervisors decided that the hospital should not re-open under direct County control, but that its management should be contracted out to a private operator.

Nevertheless, self-styled “community activists” are trying to stop the County from entering into a contract to re-open the hospital’s in-patient services. Get a load of this:

“The 184-bed Pacific Hospital of Long Beach is simply too small and untested in the task of running such a complicated institution as a large public hospital, and the attempt is likely to fail, they said.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Los Angeles County is hardly “small”. Indeed, it’s the biggest county in the U.S., but it could not run this hospital without killing people. Maybe a little “small” is what MLK-Harbor hospital needs! And how come a bigger operator, like Kaiser Permanente, hasn’t stepped up to the plate? I figure they could set up a sweet deal whereby they could enrol many of the local residents in Medicaid managed care, too.

Like I wrote before, I expect that this is really a struggle for union power, and that’s whose interests the “community activists” represent.

Until this fight is over, residents of one of the most poorly served communities in American will continue to go without adequate access to hospital services. When Government Power and Union Power Collide in health care, patients lose.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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