Rancho Los Amigos to Undergo $418 Million Renovation

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, one of the nation’s leading hospitals for rehabilitative medicine, is beginning a $418 million state-of-the-art renovation, known as Rancho Rising 2020, which will significantly enhance the care offered by the jewel of Los Angeles County’s healthcare system. The needed upgrade secures Rancho Los Amigos’ future as a top-ranked rehabilitation hospital with technologically advanced facilities, expansion of clinical and research initiatives and increased accessibility for patients and the community.

“Rancho Los Amigos supports patients in need of rehabilitative services with cutting edge technology and innovative medical practices,” said Supervisor Don Knabe of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “It has consistently been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s best hospitals. Imagine how much more we can accomplish on behalf of our patients after we expand patient facilities, upgrade aging buildings, improve Rancho’s technological readiness and beautify the campus.”

The first phase of construction, scheduled for completion in 2016, will result in a new Wellness & Aquatic Therapy Center, including a new therapy pool, which will increase Rancho Los Amigos’ capacity to provide physical therapy. The second phase includes needed seismic safety and facility renovations, construction of a centralized entrance and refurbishment of the historic Harriman Building. The renovated structures will allow the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services facility to better meet safety, ADA and privacy requirements. Phase two will be completed by 2020.

Supervisor Knabe and Rancho Los Amigos CEO Jorge Orozco, PT invite the media and public to the Rancho Rising 2020 groundbreaking ceremony, which will take place on August 19, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

Supervisor Knabe, along with the Department of Health Ser vices and Chief Executive Officer, is also advocating federal legislation to expand the partnership between LA County and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide health care to veterans Rancho Los Amigos and other non-VA facilities. H.R. 4810 and H.R. 3230 are currently pending in the U.S. Congress. The bills would provide quicker access to care for veterans who experience long wait-times at VA facilities and would allow veterans to choose non-VA medical facilities and have access to services closer to their homes.

“The demands on Rancho will be increasing as more veterans are referred to this amazing hospital,” said Supervisor Knabe. “We must expand our state-of-the-art facilities so that our clinicians can continue to provide outstanding care for people with a life-altering illness, injury or disability, including our national heroes who have suffered casualties serving their country,” Supervisor Knabe said. “This groundbreaking will throw a spotlight on the pioneering work that has been accomplished at Rancho for more than 125 years. The campus upgrade and enhanced technology will provide the means and infrastructure for Rancho staff to continue changing lives.”

In addition to H.R. 4810 and H.R. 3230, another congressional bill is pending in Congress (Preserving Rehabilitation Innovation Centers Act of 2015, H.R. 2292) that would designate Rancho Los Amigos a Rehabilitation Innovation Center, highlighting the unique role played by Rancho and other facilities in the provision of quality rehabilitative care and advancing the field of rehabilitation medicine. If the bill passes, the new facilities will complement this new status for Rancho Los Amigos, which would qualify it for higher Medicare payments to cover additional costs for complex Medicare patient care, research, and training that currently takes place at the county hospital.

Jacobs Engineering Group is leading the construction project, and Taylor Design/SmithGroup JJR is the architectural firm charged with designing the new buildings. Gensler is the scoping document architect. The hospital will remain open and fully functional during the 5-year construction process, all of which will take place on the 48-acre northern portion of Rancho Los Amigos’ Downey location.

“These necessary updates will advance our mission to restore health, rebuild life and revitalize hope for all of our patients,” said Orozco. “Amazing things happen at Rancho every day and the new campus will be clear evidence that we are leading the rehabilitation field with our remarkable patient care and research.”

Rancho Los Amigos is the only Los Angeles County Department of Health Services hospital that provides specialized care for persons with disabilities, including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, orthopedic disabilities, strokes, neurological disorders and physical and developmental disorders. Rancho Los Amigos cares for 4,000 inpatients and services 71,000 outpatient visits each year.

The Rancho Rising 2020 telephone hotline will be available for questions and comments in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the duration of the construction, and can be accessed by calling 562-219-4771.

New Community Health Center Opening in Hacienda Heights

Los Angeles County and the John Wesley Community Institute Incorporated (JWCH) will partner together to open a new health facility in Hacienda Heights to provide under-served residents with health services, thanks to a motion by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted today to allocate $400,000 to assist with renovations and startup expenses at an existing medical building located in Hacienda Heights. JWCH will use the facility to provide primary care, substance abuse, HIV and mental health services, and more to residents throughout the surrounding areas.

“Access to preventative care is too limited in the eastern part of county, but thanks to this new medical clinic, we will be able to bring first-class healthcare to the community,” said Supervisor Knabe. “The Affordable Care Act still leaves over a million people uninsured, and thanks to this partnership with JWCH, Los Angeles County residents who may not have health insurance, can still receive basic primary care without needing to visit an emergency room. This new health clinic will help us create healthier families and a healthier community.”

JWCH is a private non-profit health agency that has contracted with the County to provide a variety of valuable programs such as: primary care, medical outreach and referrals, HIV treatment and prevention services, drug treatment, health education, psychosocial assessment, and intervention.

The location of the new health clinic will be announced at a later date.

Knabe Calls for Healthcare System Outreach Plan

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe  yesterday called for the County, its unions and partners to begin development of a marketing campaign to educate the public about the County’s health system in advance of the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in January 2014.

Since its passing, the County’s Health Services Department has been aggressively preparing for the ACA, including addressing operations and technology required under the new mandate.  The ACA is expected to make healthcare coverage available to up to half of the County’s roughly 1.8 million uninsured people.

“While the County will remain the safety net for hundreds of thousands of residents who will remain without insurance, we are now entering the new world of a competitive marketplace,” said Supervisor Knabe.  “We must begin to tell the story of the County healthcare system to those who will now face choice in selecting their healthcare provider.”

With unanimous approval, the Board directed the CEO, in conjunction with the County’s Health Services and Public Social Services departments, labor unions, USC and UCLA, and other partners to develop a comprehensive strategy to explain the County’s public-private health care system to residents and potential enrollees.

LA County has the second largest public health system in the country with a $3.5 billion annual budget.  Every year, the County sees 2.9 million outpatients.   Sixty-four percent of those who come to County facilities are uninsured.

“While the County may have been a system of last resort in many minds, the truth is we have some incredible facilities and staff,” said Supervisor Knabe.  “We need to start telling that story.”

UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic Rolls Into South Whittier

South Whittier, August 15, 2012 – August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, which is also the time when families begin to prepare for the new school year.  The UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic, a 40-foot-long coach, made its way to the Community Resource Center (CRC) to provide basic eye exams for 30 low-income children.  Patients were tested by the eye clinic’s Ophthalmologist and Optometrist, received free prescription eyeglasses as well as referrals for future treatment.

 The UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic provides high-quality eye care to underserved populations—particularly children and the elderly—who lack access to health care as a result of finances, lack of transportation, or cultural and language barriers. “Teaching children to protect their eyes is an important early lesson toward a lifetime of healthy vision.  It is vital to educate parents on the importance of their children’s eyes, especially with the first day of school just around the corner.  We want all our children to be star students in the classroom,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who represents the area.

The UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic, established in 1975 by an anonymous donor, remains a privately funded outreach program operated by the Jules Stein Eye Institute.  Their mission is to discover eye diseases or eye problems and try to get people connected to the care they need.  Each year, the UCLA Ophthalmologists provide 4,000 children and 1,000 adult examinations free of charge.  In addition, they also provide 1,500 vision and glaucoma screenings at community events, and supply 400 free prescription glasses to underserved children.

A project of the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC), the Community Resource Center is funded by the Fourth Supervisorial District, and works in collaboration with its onsite service providers to offer health, wellness, and educational programs for families, seniors, and youth.

The CRC is located at 10750 Laurel Avenue in South Whittier.  For information on services provided by the CRC, please call (562) 946-2425, or visit the website at  All media may contact Elisa Vásquez, CDC Public Information Officer, at (323) 890-7415.


Rancho Los Amigos to Unveil New Paramobile Golf Chairs

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe will join Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center officials to unveil and host a demonstration of the hospital’s new Paramobile Golf Chairs. A golf clinic led by Supervisor Knabe and Paramobile Inventor Anthony Netto will be held for Rancho patients using the Paramobile Golf Chairs following the event.

The Paramobile, originally designed for disabled golfers, allows for the therapeutic benefits of golf for physically limited players. The Paramobiles will be a key element in establishing Rancho’s future golf clinic and will help improve the self-esteem and promote community reintegration for the hospital’s patients.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012; 10:00 a.m.
Presentation of Paramobile Golf Chairs; 10:15 a.m.
Golf Clinic; 10:30 a.m.

Los Amigos Country Golf Club, Driving Range, 7295 Quill Drive, Downey, CA

Don Knabe,Los Angeles County Supervisor
Jorge Orozco, CEO, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
Anthony Netto, Inventor, Paramobile Golf Chair

Knabe Calls for Reform in Physician Payment Program

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to implement reforms to the Physician Services for Indigent Program (PSIP) on a motion by Supervisor Don Knabe.  Through the PSIP, doctors at private hospitals are compensated when patients cannot pay.

“The County is the ultimate safety net and our doctors are critical to ensuring that the neediest patients in LA County receive basic emergency care,” said Supervisor Knabe.  “We need to stop putting band-aids on a situation that requires real reform or we will be back to this same dilemma again next year.  We cannot continue to freeze payments and reduce rates – it is an insult to the doctors that we all depend on.”

Due to insufficient funding, exacerbated by the State pulling its support, the Department of Health Services froze its payments to doctors.  To address the immediate threat to the program, at its meeting last week, the Board approved a reduction in the rate paid to doctors, reimbursing them at twelve percent of the cost.

Through Knabe’s motion, the Director of Health Services will be authorized to reset interim payment rates going forward.  He has also been directed, with the assistance of the CEO and Auditor-Controller, to implement the remaining recommendations in the Auditor-Controller’s report of March 11, 2011.

“We must take the next step forward in improving our operations and how we manage emergency healthcare so that all residents of LA County who must visit an emergency room can expect the availability of services and quality they deserve,” said Supervisor Knabe.

County Launches Pilot Program to Address Infant Deaths Due to Unsafe Sleeping Practices

In a motion by Supervisors Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County will develop a two-year pilot program at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center that will address the staggering number of infant deaths that have occurred due to unsafe sleeping practices and head trauma.

The program, modeled off a similar pilot program in Baltimore, Maryland, will focus on educating parents and hospital workers on safe sleeping practices, proper handling of fragile infants and the risks of shaking newborns. The Baltimore program, Infant Safe Sleeping and Abusive Head Trauma Pilot, led to four years without a single abusive head trauma death and a decrease in the rate of sleep-related deaths.

“Infant deaths resulting from unsafe sleeping practices or Shaken Baby Syndrome are a preventable tragedy,” said Supervisor Knabe. “It is important that we educate parents on how to safely care for their newborn before they take their infants home from the hospital.”

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center was selected for the pilot program because of its strong pediatric department. Approximately 900 live births occurred at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center last year.

At least 140 infants in Los Angeles County have died in the past two years due to unsafe sleeping practices, while others have died or been disabled by Shaken Baby Syndrome, which occurs when an infant is forcefully shaken. Half of children affected by Shaken Baby Syndrome die, while survivors may require lifelong medical care.

The program will be operated by the Inter-Agency Council on Abuse and Neglect (ICAN), part of the Department of Health Services, which also operates the Safe Surrender program.

Rancho Ranked California’s Top Rehabilitation Hospital by U.S News & World Report

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center has been ranked the top Rehabilitation Hospital in California in the annual U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” survey.

“Rancho is the only rehabilitation hospital in California or any of our neighboring states to be ranked in the top 20 on this year’s list of top Rehabilitation hospitals,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.  “Congratulations to Team Rancho for continuing to provide the finest patient care of any rehab facility in our state.”

This is the 22nd consecutive year that Rancho Los Amigos has been named one of “America’s Best Hospitals” in Rehabilitation Medicine in the prestigious rankings. Rancho was rated 8th out of the138 hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange County in U.S. News & World Report’s metro Los Angeles County/Orange County rankings, and 18th nationally.

“Rancho Los Amigos has a proud heritage of excellence in patient-centered care,” said Rancho Chief Executive Officer Jorge Orozco.  “This could not be achieved without the outstanding work our staff does each and every day.  Our high rankings are also indicative of the courage and commitment our patients demonstrate as they work to overcome their disabling conditions, to set new goals and to achieve their dreams.”

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Mitchell Katz, MD added, “This recognition affirms the essential role of public hospitals, where much of the innovation in health care happens first.  Rancho exemplifies what we do best in our health care system, which is providing world class medical care so our patients can move on and live healthy and fulfilling lives.”

Rancho treats more approximately 4,000 rehabilitation and medical/surgical inpatients and nearly 80,000 outpatients each year, more than any other rehabilitation facility in the state.

“Rancho provides the expertise to help our patients recover function and hope, but it is our patients who are truly responsible for the amazing recoveries that happen every day here,” said Rancho Chief Medical Officer Mindy Aisen, MD.  “The Rancho team is committed to building upon our six decades of clinical leadership in rehabilitation medicine as we lead the way in technology and treatment to create the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

Rancho Los Amigos Named a 2011 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospital”

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center has been named to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” list. The world-renowned facility ranked 7th out of the 138 hospitals ranked in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and was the only rehabilitation hospital listed.

Rancho, one of five hospitals in the Los Angels County Department of Health Services family, has been ranked one of America’s best hospitals for 21 consecutive years since the inception of the U.S. News & World Report survey in 1990. It is the only County operated hospital to appear in the top ten.

“This ranking is a testament to the incredible and innovative work that Rancho does with their patients,” said Supervisor Don Knabe. “Rancho is at the head of the class in rehabilitative innovation, incorporating technology and art for both physical and emotional rehab. Through art, sports and other creative and active outlets, Rancho helps patients not only overcome their physical challenges, but also gives them the confidence to move into self-sufficiency. The credit goes to each and every Rancho team member for the effort they put forth each day to give patients world-class care. I am so proud of Rancho for this well deserved honor.”

The U.S. News ranking differs from other rankings by looking at how well a hospital handles complex and demanding situations and involves surveys completed by 10,000 physicians worldwide. A total of 4,852 hospitals were considered for this year’s survey, but only 152 hospitals were ranked in one of16 specialties including rehabilitation, cancer, heart and heart surgery, kidney disorders, urology, neurology and neurosurgery.

Scoring criteria included reputation, mortality index, patient safety, and care related factors such as nurse staffing, and available technology, however in the ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology specialties hospitals were ranked on reputation alone. Of the 152 hospitals ranked in one or more specialties, 14 qualified for Honor Roll by earning high scores in at least six specialties.

Rancho offers a full spectrum of both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. The hospital has been a leader in advancing rehabilitation medicine for more than half a century, including the introduction of the first ever halo, used for neck injuries. Rancho serves an average daily inpatient population of 147 persons and experiences approximately 57,000 outpatient visits annually. The hospital is also renowned for its tradition of research leadership.