Dr. Elaine Batchlor, MD speaks to round-table participants about the importance of MLKCH in the Southern Los Angeles Community. Courtesy photo)

Because Medi-Cal managed care organizations often send community residents to deliver at hospitals outside of their community, MLKCH’s maternity program has already suffered, losing millions of dollars a year.

“We face a devastating set of decisions,” shared a representative of MLKCH. “We want to continue to provide a safe place for women in our community to deliver babies, but we’re at danger of joining a trend of hospitals scaling back or closing maternity programs that aren’t financially sustainable.”

Due to a lack of access to obstetricians and gynecologists within the South Los Angeles community, the MLKCH emergency department physicians have been tasked with scheduling follow-up visits for women who need monitoring.

Both, mothers and babies, need MLK Community Hospital, and their award-winning maternity program. Many of the babies being delivered by MLKCH obstetricians and gynecologists are to women who have received no or little prenatal care. This only increases the risk of poor outcomes and maternal and infant health disparities.

Along with losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, MLKCH has limited capacity to absorb additional losses for maternity care. However, with the hopeful passage of AB 2426, there may be a solution for this hospital, and many like it.

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MLKCH currently has a Bill AB 2426 sitting in the State Senate. This bill would enable MLKCH to continue to provide safe, high-quality maternity care for South LA women. It would also provide relief for emergency department losses while allowing MLKCH to allocate resources to community-based care.

“This bill will allow for the expansion of access to prenatal care in the community, as well as divert pregnant women from the emergency department, enabling MLKCH to offer them the community alternatives they deserve,” explained Dr. Batchlor.

Services for mothers and babies are bound to terminate as of July 31st. It is strongly encouraged that the entire community reach out to your State Assemblymembers and State Senators in support of this bill to ensure it is passed.

When asked to make a statement, a representative from MLKCH shared that:

“Women need a safe place to deliver in their community.  With a Five Star rating, MLKCH is that place.  Help make sure it stays that way—reach out to friends, family, elected officials.  Use your voice for South LA mothers.”