LAC+USC Medical Center

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Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center
Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center Healthcare Network logo.png
Location 1200 North State Street
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Coordinates 34°03′34″N 118°12′31″W / 34.0594°N 118.2085°W / 34.0594; -118.2085Coordinates: 34°03′34″N 118°12′31″W / 34.0594°N 118.2085°W / 34.0594; -118.2085
Care system Public
Funding Government hospital
Hospital type Teaching
Affiliated university University of Southern California
Emergency department I
Beds 633
Founded 1878
Lists Hospitals in U.S.

Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, also known as County/USC, by the abbreviation LAC+USC, or by the name Los Angeles County General, is a 600-bed public teaching hospital located on 1200 North State Street in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It is jointly operated by Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the University of Southern California.


Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center is one of the largest public hospitals and medical training centers in the United States, and the largest single provider of healthcare in Los Angeles County. It provides healthcare services for the region's medically underserved, is a Level I trauma center and treats over 28 percent of the region's trauma victims (2005). It provides care for half of all AIDS and sickle-cell anemia patients in Southern California. LAC+USC Medical Center is owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles.

Although by law the emergency room must evaluate all patients to determine if a life-threatening emergency exists, regardless of ability to pay, hospital care is not free. LAC+USC accepts self-pay patients as well as patients covered by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid (Medi-Cal). If a patient does not have a insurance or is not covered by Medi-Cal, Medicaid, or Medicare, nor have the means to pay for services, patients are presented with a bill, but are then directed to the Financial Services department adjacent to Emergency, where patients meet with counselors to review their current financial means to determine if and which financial assistance program for which they may qualify for low cost or NO cost assistance for their medical bill.

Since the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Los Angeles County has been able to greatly streamline the approval process and reduce the number of varied LA County and State of California programs that aided patients in paying for some or all of their medical services. While the legacy Ability-To-Pay program is still available (which can reduce per visit payments for medical services to the low double digits or require no payment at all, but must be renewed every six months), most patients are directed or aided in qualifying for the greatly expanded Medi-Cal program financed by the PPACA because the process is more simple, many can qualify, and it is more comprehensive in coverage. LA County ended its Healthy Way LA financial assistance program and moved those patients under that plan to the PPACA expanded Medi-Cal program automatically allowing patients to chose a pay per point plan or choose an HMO plan. Patients were then allowed to chose a private doctor or continue to see their current doctors at LA County Comprehensive Health Care Centers or other LA County funded clinics and continue to use the Los Angeles County Department of Health Care Services, including LAC+USC, for their health care.

The LAC+USC Medical Center provides a full spectrum of emergency, inpatient and outpatient services. These include medical, surgical, emergency/trauma, obstetrical, gynecological and pediatric services as well as psychiatric services for adults, adolescents and children. Some LAC+USC doctors are faculty of the Keck School of Medicine of USC; care is also provided by more than 1,000 medical residents.[1]

LAC+USC is one of the busiest public hospitals in the Western United States, with nearly 39,000 inpatients discharged, and one million ambulatory care patient visits each year. The Emergency Department is one of the world's busiest, with more than 150,000 visits per year.[2] LAC+USC operates one of only three burn centers in Los Angeles County and one of the few Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Southern California. LAC+USC is also the home of the Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health, which has prepared registered nurses for professional practice since its founding in 1895.[3]

In 2013, American Cancer Society awarded LAC+USC with the Harold P. Freeman Award in recognition of the hospital's achievements to reduce cancer disparities among medically underserved populations.[4]

Although employees are encouraged to complete their minimal accreditation, this teaching hospital does not encourage employees to seek a higher education through career completion.

Front entrance of the historic building.

New facility[edit]

The original hospital opened in 1923 and on November 8, 2008, transfer of all inpatients from Women's and Children's Hospital and the historic white 800-bed hospital on the hill to a new, $1 billion, state-of-the-art 600-bed replacement hospital just south of it was completed, and the new hospital was fully opened for service. It is located on the north side of Marengo Street, east of State Street. Designed by a joint venture of HOK and LBL Associated Architects, the new hospital consists of three linked buildings: a clinic tower, a diagnostic and treatment tower, and an inpatient tower. It was built because the old building did not meet new earthquake and fire codes that are part of the California Hospital Seismic Safety Law enacted in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The new facility has a larger number of intensive care beds to handle patients in the aftermath of disasters.

The outpatient clinic of the new hospital, opened November 2008.

A Wellness Center on the first floor of the old building was opened in 2014. It is open to the public and includes offices for nonprofit organizations, community outreach and classes for wellness activities, a dance studio, a small YMCA on State Street, and extensive new landscaping. While this building no longer meets the California Hospital Seismic Safety Law, it does meet current seismic standards for non-hospital use.


The Los Angeles County Hospital and the University of Southern California Medical School were first affiliated in 1885, five years after USC was founded. It was originally established as a 100-bed hospital with 47 patients. The present-day LAC+USC complex is adjacent to the University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus, which includes the USC Keck School of Medicine, USC School of Pharmacy, Keck Hospital of USC, and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital.

In 2004, the hospital appointed its first female Chief of Staff, Cynthia Stotts, D.O., in the 158-year history of the hospital.[5] She was also the first osteopathic physician to serve in that position.[5]


A station on the El Monte Busway for the Metro Silver Line and Foothill Transit Silver Streak is located within walking distance from the hospital. Additionally, Metro lines 70, 71, 251, 751, 605, and 620 serve the hospital.

Film and television appearances[edit]

View of Downtown Los Angeles from the top of the hospital's parking structure
The portion of the LAC+USC Medical Center seen as the exterior during the closing credits of General Hospital from 1975 until 1993.
  • Marilyn Monroe was born in the charity ward on June 1, 1926. The hospital also has a jail ward. In 1954, Stan Getz was processed in the jail ward as his wife gave birth to their third child one floor below. He had been arrested for attempting to rob a pharmacy to get a morphine fix.
  • The 1962 film The Interns starring Cliff Robertson was filmed in and around the hospital.
  • The hospital was featured briefly in the 1953 version of The War Of The Worlds directed by Byron Haskins in scenes depicting the evacuation of Los Angeles from the oncoming Martians.
  • The distinct Art Deco-style main building served as the exterior of the hospital in the 1998 movie City of Angels. In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the episode entitled "The Good Wound", exterior shots of the older LAC+USC facility to represent the hospital where Riley was being held. The outside of the hospital appeared in the television series Dr. Kildare, where it was known as "Blair General Hospital". There were a number of scenes filmed in one of the hospital's larger operating theaters in the TV series Ben Casey. The hospital also appears in the movie El Norte. The stairs and front entrance of the original LAC+USC Medical Center is seen in a scene in the 1993 film Blood In, Blood Out when one of the main characters is released after being treated for gunshot wounds. The exterior is also used in shots portraying Jessica Alba's hospital stay in the 2008 horror movie The Eye.
  • Beginning in 1975, the ABC soap opera General Hospital began using the facility for its exterior shots, appearing primarily in the show's opening sequence, where it still remains. The lower floors of the show's Los Angeles studio are modeled after the actual hospital's emergency room entrance, allowing for the show to shoot outdoor scenes in their own parking lot. On their spin-off, General Hospital: Night Shift, the upper floors were edited in digitally to fit on top of the show's studio, creating a CGI look, modeled after the real hospital's original exterior. An animated version of the exterior is used in the current opening.
  • The doctors in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were played by doctors from the USC Medical Center who were recruited to play the doctors who try to save E.T. after government agents take over Elliott's home. Spielberg felt that actors in the roles, performing lines of technical medical dialogue, would come across as unnatural.[6]
  • A documentary film about Emergency Room doctors at LAC+USC Medical Center, Code Black, was released in 2014.


See also[edit]

  • Knocking, a documentary on Jehovah's Witnesses, featuring LAC+USC Medical Center
  • Code Black, a documentary about the ER of the hospital


  1. ^ "Los Angeles County Hospital + USC Medical Center". Keck School of Medicine. University of Southern California. 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "County of Los Angeles - Department of Health Services". Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  4. ^ Pinedo, Gerardo (8 August 2013). "LAC+USC MEDICAL CENTER AWARDED HAROLD P.FREEMAN AWARD" (PDF). Department of Health Services (Los Angeles County). Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b 41st Medical Trust (2008-10-16). "History of the Merger". UCI Libraries. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ E.T. — The Reunion (DVD). Universal, directed by Laurent Bouzereau. 2002. 
  7. ^ "G. Ded R. Meiklejohn Dies at Age 72. Assistant Secretary of War in Administration of President McKinley. Made Poor By Liberality. Couldn't Say 'No' to Those in Distress. Often Tried Court Cases Without a Fee". New York Times. April 20, 1929. Retrieved 2015-04-19. George De Rue Meiklejohn, Assistant Secretary of War under President McKinley and a former Lieutenant Governor and Representative in Congress from Nebraska, who had been decorated by kings, died in a ward of the Los Angeles General Hospital last night. His age was 72. 
  8. ^

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