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Once-Troubled MLK Hospital Now A Health-Care Leader

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — MLK Medical Center was a troubled hospital that closed, leaving a community underserved for years. It has since re-opened as the state-of-the-art Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Hospital.

"We set out to provide high-quality care," Dr. Elaine Batchlor, the hospital's CEO said. "South Los Angeles is ground zero for some of the biggest health-care challenges our nation faces."

Not so long ago MLK Hospital was in shambles. It was even called "killer king" by some and shut down in 2007.

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas visits the weekly nearby Farmers Market and can truly see the fruits of his labor.

"It was a very difficult but very necessary decision," Ridley Thomas said. "Our intent was to build a campus that concentrated on wellness, that concentrated on prevention, not on hospitalization."

The 42-acre campus boasts a brand new outpatient clinic, a public health center, a psychiatric urgent care center and a recuperative care center that David McGuire calls home for now.

"I don't know where I'd be without it." McGuire said. The 50-year-old battled substance abuse and was diagnosed with colon cancer.

There is much more in the works including a behavioral health center, a parking structure, and a new office building.

Linda Griego has been a big part of the rebirth of the MLK Hospital and the facilities.

"The hospital is the gem, but there is so much potential on this campus." Griego said. "Our mission is to really look at the underutilized buildings, like the old five-story hospital."

The 133-bed hospital has seen 90,000 patients in their emergency room this year, making it one of the busiest in the county.

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