For decades, some medical office buildings have been perceived as sterile, cold, unfriendly facilities where patients go when they are ill. Some people have a real fear of entering a medical building, even for a check-up or inoculation. You’d never hear someone say, “I can’t wait to go see my doctor and visit his/her office.”
But what if that model was transformed, and medical office buildings were designed to become integrated into the community and put patients at ease? What if facilities were planned to meet health care needs for those who are ill, and empower people to become and stay healthy? Such a modern concept is now a reality and is being built by Kaiser Permanente.
The design for the future Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills–Crenshaw Medical Offices is unlike any other in the area. The 100,000-square-foot medical facility in South Los Angeles will offer primary care, specialty services, outpatient care, radiology, laboratory and pharmacy services. It also will provide a conference room and outdoor event space that will be available to local community groups. A “green space” of 2.5 acres that includes a contiguous two-mile walking path to promote physical activity will be incorporated in the design. The future medical office building is scheduled to open in 2017 and joins nine other state of the art medical office buildings that Kaiser Permanente plans to open over the next two years.
Now imagine the other ways that a medical office building can help a community become healthier. In addition to bringing convenient access to high-quality primary and specialty care services to members who live and work in the area, the new Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills–Crenshaw Medical Offices also promise to have a positive impact on the surrounding community’s social and economic well-being with growing local employment being positively impacted as job opportunities are created with the facility’s construction.
Over the past two years, Kaiser Permanente’s West Los Angeles Medical Center, which oversees the new medical offices, has worked in partnership with local, nonprofit organizations to host construction job outreach events in an effort to help local community residents find opportunities with employers working on the project.
In Los Angeles, there is a broader effort to create pipelines for black workers into industries with higher wages, such as construction. According to the report, studies show that African Americans, who make up 71 percent of the population in Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw, make up less than 2 percent of the construction industry in Los Angeles County, despite accounting for more than 9 percent of the population.
In its efforts to prepare for the new facilities, the West Los Angeles Medical Center hosted three job outreach fairs in South Los Angeles and Crenshaw in 2015, reaching several dozens of residents, and putting them in touch with resources to help navigate the construction job search process. “This community holds a special place in our hearts,” said Yesenia Monsour, public affairs director, West Los Angeles Medical Center. “We’ve cultivated many wonderful, productive relationships with community partners throughout the area, and we all are eager to see our work towards a re-energized Baldwin Hills–Crenshaw community flourish,” she said.
Turner Construction, the general contractor that was awarded this project, has hired many individuals from the surrounding community, according to Michelle Ballard, senior director, community and citizenship, Turner Construction.
Adding to the job opportunities for local area residents is minority-owned National Eagle Security, Inc. (NES), which was hired by Turner to provide on-site security. According to NES spokesman Samuel Scott, every one of the more than 70 security officers working on the site lives within a five-mile radius of the project. “The impact of this contract with Turner and Kaiser Permanente is huge. It creates a ripple effect of continued growth and steady employment, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Scott.
The hiring of this firm represents Kaiser Permanente’s larger, longstanding commitment to improve the health of the communities it serves. To that end, every new facility is designed with the needs of its surrounding community in mind.
To learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Hills – Crenshaw Medical Offices, please visit www.kp.org/baldwinhillscrenshaw.