$500K grant to help fully reopen troubled MLK hospital

An independent public agency will provide a $500,000 grant to jump-start the planning process to fully re-open Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center in South Los Angeles.

L.A. Care Health Plan awarded the grant to establish an independent nonprofit to manage and operate the facility. The troubled hospital closed in 2007 after patient deaths were blamed on shoddy care.

The county Board of Supervisors has agreed to foot the bill to re-open and refurbish the hospital, and the University of California will provide physician services and quality of care oversight.

The plan is for a nonprofit, 120-bed facility to open in late 2012, followed by an emergency department the next year and an ambulatory care center in 2014.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.