5-star rated LA Downtown Medical Center celebrates 2nd anniversary

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LA Downtown Medical Center (LADMC), a five-star rated hospital by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the heart of Historic Filipinotown, is marking its second anniversary.

LADMC held a socially distanced anniversary celebration on Friday, March 5 with giveaways, a vaccination drive, entertainment and lunch for staff and community members.

The medical center, located along Temple St., is one of only two hospitals in the city of LA to receive the highest rating from the CMS last January.

The rating is a testament to the center’s transformation in two years under the leadership of Vicki Palana Rollins, the first Fil-Am to co-own a hospital system in the United States.

Rollins, along with business partner William “Bill” Nelson, purchased the struggling medical center after it went into bankruptcy in February 2019.

“We’ve worked so hard to get to this point. Our staff are very, very satisfied with how they’ve grown with our company. Our affiliates that we’re involved with have also appreciated what we’ve done [with] the way we’ve meshed the cultures together — a culture of success and efficiency and all the values that we have cultivated over the years,” Nelson said.

Today, the 36,000-square-foot hospital holds 219 inpatient beds and has a 24/7 urgent care center with over 1,600 staff members total — about 65% of whom are of Filipino descent — to deliver quality and culturally sensitive health care to Historic Filipinotown as well as to the surrounding neighborhoods of Echo Park and Silver Lake.

“We were fully committed to take over the hospital and rehabilitate it the way we have,” Rollins said.

Despite the past year’s challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, Rollins credited the leadership and staff’s ability to quickly adapt to the changing measures and handle the surge. Now, the hospital is administering vaccines to the community.

“As a nurse myself, I learned that we can quickly adapt to the changing environment and do what you have to do to lead people to do the medication plans and treat the patients,” Rollins said. “The patients are the foremost in our mission and goal for the hospital…and obviously the safety of the staff.”

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, who represents California’s 34th District covering Historic Filipinotown and surrounding areas, attended Friday’s festivities, praising LADMC’s service to the community.

“The LA Downtown Medical Center is a godsend for this area. This area, as well as the heart of Los Angeles, has been one of the most disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic when it comes to infection rates and death rates,” Gomez said. “So being right here in this neighborhood is huge. They’re doing vaccinations now [and are] getting shots into arms and getting people protected.”

Over 100 individuals received jabs of the Moderna vaccine at LADMC, including staff from the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles.

“Since Bill and I started our company, we’ve always supported the community where we are located,” Rollins said.

Among the Consulate officials who received the first dose of the vaccine was Acting Head of Post Ambrosio Brian F. Enciso III. He said having this layer of protection will help him and other Consulate staff safely do more outreach of its services.

“I feel lucky and blessed. But I also feel safer and braver to face the frontline work that we have to do,” Enciso said. “It’s also incumbent upon us to protect ourselves to continue serving the community.”

He urged Filipino Americans to continue to seek reputable sources and to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

“Get informed for those who are still in the dark. Use your local resources, contact medical professionals, or for Filipinos, your network of family and friends. Don’t sit it out — proactively seek it out,” he said.

In addition to the Historic Filipinotown hospital, LADMC runs an Ingleside campus, which has 118 psychiatric beds, in Rosemead about 10 miles away.

LADMC is located at 1711 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Visit ladowntownmc.com or call (213) 989-6100.

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