Supv. Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, MLK Hospital CEO Dr.Elaine Batchlor, community activist Sweet Alice Harris participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. (Martin Zamora/Board of Supervisors)

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas led the groundbreaking ceremony for the newest addition to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus in Willowbrook: a medical office building that will increase access to healthcare in South Los Angeles by creating more space for physicians to care for patients.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the MLK Community Health Medical Office Building will provide primary care for the local community, as well as valuable services to treat chronic conditions. Outpatient services will include dialysis, wound care, and imaging. There will also be an ambulatory surgery center, a retail pharmacy, and a space for community health education.

The 52,000-sq. ft. MLK Community Health Medical Office Building will be the new home of the MLK

Community Medical Group, which recruits doctors from prestigious medical centers across the nation who have a desire to serve in a safety-net community. “When you talk about best practices in community health, the evidence is overwhelming that access to primary care is a critical piece of the puzzle,”said Ridley-Thomas, the driving force behind the medical campus.

“With the creation of the MLK Medical Group and this medical office building, we are creating an essential link between hospital patients and ongoing care following discharge.”

“The MLK Community Health Medical Office Building represents a fulfillment of our promise to this

community,” MLK Community Hospital CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor said.“This moment is about more than a

building–it’s a milestone for improving health in South LA.”

Dr. Jorge Reyno, MLK Community Hospital vice president of Population Health, is one of the doctors looking forward to having an office at the new building. “It will serve as a hub to improve outcomes, and an important bridge between inpatient and outpatient care, supporting our work in care management, and helping us achieve our goals for patient and community wellness,”he said.

Several members of the community expressed their enthusiasm for the project, including Sweet Alice Harris, Arna Fulcher of the Empowerment Congress, and Arturo Ibarra of the Watts/Century Latino Organization.

Developed in partnership with Trammell Crow Company, the project is expected to create 200 construction jobs. It is only the latest addition to the still-expanding MLK Medical Campus, which besides the MLK Community Hospital and MLK Outpatient Center, also includes the MLK Center for Public Health, the MLK Mental Health Urgent Care Center, and MLK Recuperative Care Center.