Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood has been a key healthcare provider to nearby residents for nearly a century. Now some patients and activists in South Los Angeles worry that recent cuts and other changes are diminishing its role in the community, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Since taking over the hospital late last year, its new owner has shuttered departments, laid off 13% of its 1,700 staffers and canceled most private insurance contracts, hospital officials say. As a result, many residents say they’ve had to seek treatment elsewhere.
Victorville-based Prime Healthcare Services Inc. said that it made the changes to keep the medical center financially viable and that access to healthcare in the Inglewood area had not suffered.
State data show that Centinela has been unprofitable for years. The hospital’s previous owner considered closing the facility in the fall, before Prime bought it sight unseen.
To the disproportionately low-income and uninsured residents of South Los Angeles and other nearby communities, the recent changes at Centinela are yet another blow after a long spate of hospital cutbacks and closures throughout the area.
Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center in Hawthorne closed in 2004. Last year, Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital near Watts shut down. Brotman Medical Center in Culver City recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Other area hospitals such as Downey Regional Medical Center have said they aren’t certain how much longer they can remain open.
The closings have left the local healthcare system in its most threatened state in decades, experts say.
Read the full L.A. Times story