Governor Newsom Signs Bill to attract high-quality medical providers to South L.A.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif --- A new law, signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom on October 3rd, will accelerate efforts to bring high-quality health providers to one of the most medically underserved areas of the nation: South Los Angeles.

The bill, AB 1037, makes the award-winning safety net hospital that serves South LA, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) eligible for an exemption to the state medical foundation requirements. The exemption will make it easier for MLKCH and the MLK Community Medical Group to create a medical foundation, which serves as a vehicle to recruit physicians to practice in South L.A.

“California is the fifth largest economy in the world, and yet many of my constituents are unable to adequately address their most basic of needs, proper access to quality healthcare. There is simply no excuse that justifies the continuation of this unacceptable state of affairs. It is morally imperative that our state laws are amended to make special accommodations for hospitals like MLKCH that effectively address the growing disparity in our healthcare system.” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) who authored the legislation. “While there is more work yet to be done, this bill is a critical step in the right direction.”

Under the new law, MLKCH will be better able to work together with its growing medical group to attract and retain high-quality preventive and specialty care providers. Specifically, by allowing the hospital to create a medical foundation, MLKCH will have access to the same collaborative structure as large hospital systems do for recruiting physicians who have a desire to serve vulnerable communities.

South L.A. has a deficit of 1,200 doctors compared to other communities. More affluent neighborhoods have 10 times the number of doctors willing to work in their areas.

The lack of providers has resulted in significant health disparities. South L.A.’s 1.2 million residents--predominantly Hispanic and African-American--suffer the lowest life expectancy and worst health outcomes in Los Angeles County.

“This is a visionary approach to solving the provider shortage and the big health challenges in South LA,” said MLKCH CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor. “Asm. Gipson is pioneering thoughtful new ways to bring underserved areas the care they need and deserve. We are grateful for his support of this innovative approach.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital serves the communities of Service Planning Area 6, which includes Carson, Compton, Exposition Park, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Paramount, Southgate, Southpark, and Watts.