Los Angeles County health officials withheld $300,000 from the medical school affiliated with troubled Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center and threatened to end the school's physician-training contract unless significant steps were taken by Aug. 31 to restore accountability. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science receives about $12 million a year to oversee training of interns and residents and provide some clinical care at 308-bed King/Drew. Health officials said Drew University was paid nearly $1.1 million for services it never provided and asked for a response by next week before deciding whether to seek to recoup the remaining money.
The county also said it would not renew the university's contract, which expires June 30, 2006, without substantial changes, including the appointment of a permanent president for the school. An interim president has run Drew University since its former leader was placed on paid administrative leave last year. Health officials are considering options in case the affiliation is severed, such as turning King/Drew into a nonteaching hospital or entering into a doctor-training partnership with another school. King/Drew has been repeatedly cited for poor patient care and mismanagement in recent months. Drew University has been faulted for poor oversight of interns and residents. -- by Laura B. Benko