Legislation would designate Rancho hospital as 'rehabilitation innovation center'

A bill to designate Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitant Center as a ‘rehabilitation innovation center’ advanced in the State Assembly with a 14-1 vote last week.

 Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Photo by Pam Lane, DowneyDailyPhotos.com

Assembly Bill 1411, by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), was brought forward by constituents during the assemblywoman’s annual ‘There Ought to be a Law’ contest, which was won with this proposal.

The Rehabilitation Innovation Center designation recognizes an inpatient rehabilitation research center that has particular expertise in treating patients with the most complex rehabilitation needs.

Located in Downey, it was first founded in 1888 to serve farming families who could not afford medical services.

“Rancho Los Amigos provides care to approximately 4,000 inpatients and 71,000 outpatients annually, making it one of the largest rehabilitation centers in the nation,” said Garcia. “At a time when healthcare for working Americans is in a perilous position, 85% of this center’s patients are on MediCal and it’s the only public rehabilitation facility in Southern California even though it’s one of the most premiere facilities in the country.”

As the only rehabilitation hospital in Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services, the center serves a unique and vital role in patient recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. The hospital specializes in brain, neurology, orthopedic, pediatric, spine injury, and stroke rehabilitation. Each year, the hospital provides care to approximately 4,000 inpatients and 71,000 outpatients, making it one of the largest rehabilitation centers in the nation.

“This legislation recognizes the few rehabilitation centers, like Rancho Los Amigos, that have a higher calling to treat the most complex patients, provide access to the most vulnerable, and contribute to advancing the science of rehabilitation,” said Jorge Orozco, Chief Executive Officer at Rancho Los Amigos.

A video of just one of the innovative treatments the center has created can be found here.  In it, nodes connected directly to a paraplegic man’s brain control a robotic arm enabling him to drink a beer for the first time by himself since his accident. 

“Their innovative care and ability to heal thousands of people every year not only provide a beckon of hope for patients in need but they’re also a fantastic example of the services and advancements burgeoning in this region,” added Garcia.  “The work Rancho Los Amigos does is amazing—just watch the video!  The potential partnerships to advance care and innovation in rehabilitation treatments are endless and start-ups should take note and visit this jewel in my district soon.”

The bill will next be heard in Assembly Appropriations.