For a second year in a row, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave its top quality score – five stars – to MLK Community Healthcare. Stars are awarded for quality based on five categories – mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, and timely and effective care. The more stars (out of 5), the better a hospital performed.
Only ten Los Angeles County hospitals out of 75 rated achieved a five-star rating in these latest CMS rankings. The score is especially notable given that it came during a time of high patient volume for the safety net hospital and health system in South LA.
“This is about fulfilling a promise of quality, compassionate care to an underserved community,” said MLKCH CEO Dr. Elaine Batchlor. “Our dedicated, mission-driven staff met the challenge and delivered high-quality results. They deserve our thanks and praise.”
MLK Community Hospital operated, on average, at 126% above licensed bed capacity throughout the last year due to high patient volume.
South Los Angeles, the area served by MLK Community Healthcare, is a majority minority community largely covered by Medicaid (Medi-Cal), the public insurance for low-income Americans. Low Medi-Cal reimbursement rates are at the root of a provider shortage in safety-net communities like South LA; an independent study found the community lacked 1,500 doctors relative to average Californian communities. Lack of access to primary, preventive and specialty care drives many in the community to seek care from the emergency department of MLK Community Hospital.
“Hospitals in underserved areas can do great things,” said MLKCH Chief Operating Officer Jeff Stout. “But we need resources and support to maintain our quality commitment to our community. Policymakers should take note from these star rankings and support and reward success.”
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