Fostering a Commitment to Quality: Best Practices in Safety-net Hospitals

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2016;27(1):293-307. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2016.0008.


In 2007, the Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital (MLK-Harbor), which served a large safety-net population in South Los Angeles, closed due to quality challenges. Shortly thereafter, an agreement was made to establish a new hospital, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH), to serve the unmet needs of the community. To assist the newly appointed MLKCH Board of Directors in building a culture of quality, we conducted a series of interviews with five high-performing hospital systems. In this report, we describe our findings. The hospitals we interviewed achieved a culture of quality by: 1) developing guiding principles that foster quality; 2) hiring and retaining personnel who are stewards of quality; 3) promoting efficient resource utilization; 4) developing a well-organized quality improvement infrastructure; and 5) cultivating integrated, patient-centric care. The institutions highlighted in this report provide important lessons for MLKCH and other safety-net institutions.

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals, Community*
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Safety-net Providers*