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$15 million pledge helps Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital close physician gap

The MLK Community Medical Group offers a vehicle to attract talented and diverse physicians who want to serve a safety-net community

Compton Herald | physician shortage
Steve Ballmer, owner of the LA Clippers, announces a 15 million dollar commitment to the MLK Community Medical Group by the Ballmer Group and the Weingart Foundation at the 2018 Sharing the Dream lunch. The transformational gift will bring more doctors and increase healthcare access to South LA.
Joining Ballmer on stage are Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, Howard Kahn of the Good Hope Foundation, and Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital. Photo: Matt Sayles/MLK Community Health Foundation

Weingart Foundation, Ballmer Group support efforts to fill South L.A.’s physician gap

LOS ANGELES (MNS) — The Weingart Foundation and Ballmer Group have pledged $15 million to Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, a private, nonprofit hospital serving South Los Angeles, in support of the hospital’s affiliated nonprofit MLK Community Medical Group (MLK CMG).

The gifts, allocated as $7.5 million from each entity and distributed over five years, take aim at closing South L.A.’ critical physician gap, estimated at 1,200 primary care and specialty physicians.

Compton Herald | Fred Ali

“Addressing inequities in our southern California communities is the focus of our foundation’s giving” — Fred Ali. Photo: Weingart Foundation website

Since the hospital opened in 2015, its Emergency Department has seen more than double the projected number of patients — and those patients have been younger and sicker than expected. More than half of the patients discharged from the hospital say they have no regular doctor. Without doctors for patient referral, community leaders took it upon themselves to find a way to recruit them — creating the medical group in 2016.

“Addressing inequities in our southern California communities is the focus of our foundation’s giving,” said Fred Ali, president, and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. “There’s a profound shortage of doctors practicing in South Los Angeles. The hospital is exploring a promising way to eliminate that disparity and we’re eager to help them make progress.”

The MLK Community Medical Group offers the first viable vehicle in South L.A. to attract talented and diverse physicians who want to serve a safety-net community. As a not-for-profit corporation, it is guided by a mission to improve population health. This is no small feat in a community where death rates from chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are significantly higher than the county average.

But the medical group looks to be up to the task. Since its inception, the medical group has generated more interest from physicians than initially anticipated, with many coming from the nation’s best academic medical centers.

“What this hospital and its leadership are doing is visionary, and we are proud to support their work,” said Nina Revoyr, executive director Los Angeles of Ballmer Group. “They saw the need to create a financially viable way for physicians to come and practice here and they found a way to make it happen.”

Compton Herald | Dr. Elaine Batchlor

“We can create a healthcare delivery system that will transform the lives of all of our community members in South L.A.” — Dr. Elaine Batchlor. Photo: MLKCH website

Founded by L.A. Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, the Ballmer Group supports data-driven organizations that create opportunities for children and families otherwise likely to remain in poverty. They found philanthropic synergy with the equity-driven Weingart Foundation.

Both Weingart and the Ballmers identified the hospital as an agent for change in South L.A. Weingart has previously supported the hospital’s establishment of an outpatient treatment clinic as well as its maternity services, and Ballmer Group has supported a variety of organizations in South L.A.

MLKCH Chief Executive Officer Dr. Elaine Batchlor, said the hospital is “about more than providing emergency care.

“We’re changing the health of South L.A.,” she declared. “Thanks to the Weingart Foundation and Ballmer Group’s bold investments, we can create a healthcare delivery system that will transform the lives of all of our community members in South L.A.”

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton and the Los Angeles metropolitan area of California, and the world.

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