Los Angeles County officials are proposing to turn over management of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center to a private consulting firm, a move that also could bring information technology to the troubled hospital.
The move would mark the first time the county has allowed an outside group to take over day-to-day operations at one of its hospitals.
Under the plan presented Wednesday, the county would pay Chicago-based Navigant Consulting up to $13.25 million to manage the hospital for at least a year and to do a complete review of how the facility operates.
The County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the measure Tuesday. The firm could begin work as early as Nov. 1.
County officials said the move will increase the number of hospital supervisors from five to 23. Navigant would assess each doctor and nurse's competency, as well as review each department. It also plans to computerize the hospital's records. King/Drew is the only hospital in the county system that still does them by hand.
Thomas Garthwaite, director of the county's Department of Health Services, would oversee Navigant's work and must still approve any hirings or disciplinary actions.
The county agreed to bring in outside managers after federal regulators threatened to cut off $200 million in funding, more than half of the hospital's budget.
The county must file progress reports with federal health officials every two months and could still lose the federal funds if problems are discovered.
Navigant has 1,500 full-time consultants in 36 cities nationwide. The firm advises companies and government agencies on litigation, energy policy, corporate finance and government contracting, along with its work in health care.