CNS – Sixteen employees at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital’s outpatient clinic have been suspended after it was discovered they had serious crimes in their past, including at least one rape, or had lied about their criminal history, it was reported. One other employee with a criminal history was kept on the payroll for reasons officials did not explain, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Los Angeles County officials who disclosed that 16 employees had been suspended refused to say what crimes were committed by the staffers or whether the offenders worked in positions that placed patients in jeopardy, but Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke disclosed the rape, The Times reported.
“I’m very concerned,” Burke, whose district includes the Willowbrook medical facility, told the newspaper. “I’ve been a patient at that hospital myself.”
Most of the hospital closed nearly a year ago after federal regulators determined it did not meet minimum standards for patient care, but some outpatient services continue, and more than 700 employees remain at the site. County supervisors had blamed their own employees for many of the failures that led to the shutdown of emergency room and inpatient services and pledged to discipline or remove problem employees. The Times recently reported major lapses in the tracking of disciplined employees.
In a review conducted in response to the Times report, the Department of Health Services found that it had received information about employee criminal histories over the last year that should have initiated discipline.