Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital History
The County of Los Angeles has long recognized the need to provide community-based
healthcare to the underserved population of South Los Angeles. Below is
the history of medical care in this community.
Governor Pat Brown commissioned a group to study the cause of the unrest.
The commission, headed by John A. McCone, submitted a report that identified
issues including the lack of adequate, accessible medical facilities within
the community. The County of Los Angeles took action and committed to
building a hospital.
Originally named Southeast General Hospital, the 461-bed, general acute
care hospital, opened in South Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, it was
renamed Martin Luther King, Jr. General Hospital after the famed civil
Operated by the County of Los Angeles, it was one of the few hospitals
that served the poorest and most underserved residents in the region.
After a long-standing history of quality and operational challenges, the
facility, renamed MLK-Harbor Hospital, lost its accreditation from The
Joint Commission and certification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
MLK-Harbor Hospital closed as a general acute care hospital. South Los
Angeles and the surrounding communities lost critical access to medical
and surgical care as well as vital emergency services.
Local hospitals in and around the area absorbed MLK-Harbor’s patients
for inpatient care. They received funding from the County to treat those
patients. But these other hospitals were not located within a convenient
distance of the community that MLK-Harbor served.
The County, and in particular
Second District County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, stayed committed to making critical healthcare services available to
the residents of South Los Angeles in their neighborhood. They pledged
to open a new state-of-the-art hospital in the community that would provide
the highest quality and most technologically advanced community-based
MLK-Harbor Hospital was converted into the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center to provide outpatient services.
On October 12, SB 474, the South Los Angeles Medical Services Preservation
Fund was signed into law, ensuring that area healthcare facilities would
receive funds to meet the needs of uninsured residents in the community.
In spring 2008, the County approached then-Governor Schwarzenegger and
the Regents of the University of California to ask for help in opening
a new hospital in the area.
In April, the County and the University of California together sponsored
Assembly Bill 2599 to ensure the financial stability of the new hospital.
The County of Los Angeles and Regents of the University of California enter
into a “Coordination Agreement,” where
- The County agrees to construct and to furnish the Hospital
- The County agrees to provide supplemental funding for Medi-Cal and indigent care
- The University of California agrees to provide staffing for the Hospital
Both sides agree that new, independent, not for profit corporation will
operate the Hospital In August, the County of Los Angeles and the University
of California appointed seven board members to the nonprofit
Martin Luther King, Jr. Los Angeles Healthcare Corporation (MLK-LA), which was charged with operating the new hospital. MLK-LA committed to
implementing the necessary resources to create high quality, sustainable,
coordinated healthcare delivery in South Los Angeles.
On September 23, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2599 into law.
Construction on the new hospital began.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the County held a series of community meetings in South Los Angeles to
master plan for the area.
Hundreds of residents, civic leaders, business owners and health care advocates
attended the meetings, asked questions and provided input about the new
developments. In addition to building the new hospital and maintaining
the other healthcare facilities, the community discussed including mixed-use
retail space, medical office space, connected community gardens, safe
pedestrian walkways and recreational facilities to promote wellness and
The new hospital is named Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital to
reflect its commitment to community-based medicine and to honor the legacy
of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On January 21, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus master plan.
In August, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved MLKCH’s
lease and funding agreement.
2015: Notable dates at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital
MLKCH participates in MLK Day Parade
MLKCH hosts first onsite Nurses Job fair with more than 200 attendees
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy visits MLKCH as part of his “Listening
Sessions” Across the U.S. MLKCH participates in King-Drew Magnet
High School’s Career Day
MLKCH passes Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) inspection by CDPH
MLKCH hosts 2nd Nurse Job Fair on campus
MLKCH hosts Empowerment Congress
100th employee hired at
MLKCH passes LA County Fire Marshal inspection
First Medical Staff elected; Dr. Walid Ghurabi elected Chief of Staff
MLKCH receives licensure from California Department of Public Health
MLKCH hosts area spiritual leaders as part of the hospital’s
“Breakfast with CEO” series
MLKCH celebrates Nurses Week/Cinco de Mayo
MLK Café (Cafeteria) opens
MLKCH receives accreditation from The Joint Commission
MLKCH hosts Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for hospital tour
MLKCH hosts Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services agency representatives
for hospital tour as part of the hospital’s
“Breakfast with CEO” series
MLKCH Gift Shop opens
MLKCH begins to offer scheduled public tours
MLKCH provides services to the public
MLKCH Dedication Ceremony