CNS – Pacific Hospital of Long Beach withdrew from recent negotiations to reopen and operate the troubled Martin Luther King-Harbor hospital, according to county officials. Word that the talks had ended came early Thursday April 10, but the reason for the break-down in talks was not immediately clear, said James Bolden, press deputy to County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, whose district includes King-Harbor. The 194-bed Pacific Hospital had been criticized by some public health experts as being too small and untested in the complicated task of running a large public hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported.
County officials have been under pressure to reopen King-Harbor, formerly known as Martin Luther King-Drew Medical Center, as a full-service hospital since emergency and in-patient services were halted in August. The facility operates as an urgent care center. The scaling back of services occurred after King-Drew failed a crucial inspection and was about to lose its federal funding. It’s closure sparked outrage among residents in South Los Angeles and Willowbrook. The hospital was opened in the wake of the Watts riots and was a symbol of efforts to revitalize the area while providing medical services to the area’s largely low-income population.