Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles has announced commitments totaling $15 million over five years from the Ballmer Group and Weingart Foundation to help address a shortage of physicians in the area.
The gifts of $7.5 million each from the two philanthropies will fund efforts to close a gap of an estimated twelve hundred primary care and specialty physicians in South Los Angeles. Since MLKCH opened in 2015, its emergency department has seen more than double the projected number of patients, with more than half the patients discharged from the hospital having no regular doctor. Without doctors for the hospital to refer patients to, MLKCH leaders created the nonprofit MLK Community Medical Group in 2016 to recruit doctors to the area.
To improve the overall health of the area's population, many of whom are poor, the medical group works to attract talented and diverse physicians who want to serve a community with significant need. According to MLKCH, the group has generated more interest from physicians than anticipated — with many coming from the nation's top academic medical centers.
"What this hospital and its leadership are doing is visionary, and we are proud to support their work," said Nina Revoyr, Los Angeles executive director of the Ballmer Group, the foundation established by former Microsoft CEO and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie. "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."
"Our hospital is about more than providing emergency care," said Elaine Batchlor, chief executive of MLKCH. "We're changing the health of South LA. Thanks to the Weingart Foundation and [the] 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 LA."