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Harbor-UCLA Hospital Won’t Be Downgraded

Times Staff Writer

A national accrediting group has lifted its threat to downgrade the status of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance after the hospital challenged the findings of an inspection last month.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations previously had said it found enough problems at Harbor-UCLA, during an inspection of all five Los Angeles County-run hospitals, to make Harbor-UCLA’s accreditation “conditional.”

But the group informed the hospital Friday that it had overturned some of its earlier findings and that Harbor-UCLA would maintain its full seal of approval. Accreditation by the commission has enormous symbolic as well as practical significance, affecting areas such as public relations and funding.

The commission launched its inspections last month after it found so many failings at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center that it moved to pull its accreditation. King/Drew, located just south of Watts, is appealing that decision.

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The county Department of Health Services had invited the inspectors to ensure its other hospitals were not experiencing the same problems as King/Drew. Also reviewed were County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey.

All of the facilities had some problems, but the commission found that the breadth and depth of King/Drew’s issues were unique, officials said.

From the time they learned of the threat to their accreditation, administrators at Harbor-UCLA said they believed the commission drew conclusions that were not justified by its findings.

“It leaves us feeling that we were vindicated,” Dr. Gail Anderson Jr., Harbor-UCLA’s medical director, said Friday. “Every hospital knows [inspectors are] going to always find something that we all need to work on. We felt we were a hospital that meets the standards for the joint commission. We always have and we always intend to meet them.”

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Harbor-UCLA still must correct several problems to fully satisfy the commission. The problems relate to medical record-keeping, pain assessments, medication orders, crowding in the psychiatric unit and whether patients are properly evaluated before undergoing deep sedation or anesthesia.


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