City signs contract to reopen Community Hospital; reopening date to be announced next year

The City of Long Beach signed a contract today approving a long-term lease and operating agreement for Community Hospital with the healthcare group Molina, Wu, Network, officials announced.

The 94-year-old East Long Beach hospital closed last year, shuttering the area’s only emergency room after it was found to be sitting on an active earthquake fault line.

The long-term lease was approved by the City Council in October.

City officials at the time acknowledged the risk in the deal—including reimbursing the healthcare group for the cost of its investment if the project falls through—but said the risk was worth taking.

“We made reopening Community Hospital a top priority and are committed to an accessible and safe emergency room for all residents of Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Signing the long-term agreement brings us one step closer to outstanding medical care and health services citywide.”

“Reopening this hospital raises the quality of life for everyone,” said 4th District Councilman Daryl Supernaw, who represents the area where the hospital is located. “Community Hospital helps us address many different citywide public health and safety challenges.”

The hospital, which received 27,000 visits per year, will help the city address the homelessness crisis.

“Per the agreement, MWN will make a good faith effort to provide sobering center beds, medical detox beds, recuperative care and psychiatric beds to address community needs identified in the city’s Everyone Home task force report, subject to appropriate licensure and regulatory approvals,” a release stated.

“MWN is grateful for the support of our partners at the City of Long Beach as we navigate this complex regulatory process to acquire the hospital’s state license,” said John C. Molina of MWN. “We’re optimistic in our pursuit and look forward to our continued work in the new year.”

City officials said the healthcare group will now be able to work directly with the state Department of Public Health for state approvals needed to reopen the hospital.

MWN on Dec. 4 said it completed the state’s medical laboratory department inspection and submitted the pharmacy department license application. MWN has already hired lab and pharmacy managers and began procuring hospital lab equipment.

Once the department licenses are approved MWN will begin limited hiring of medical staff to prepare for the CDPH’s final inspection, which the healthcare group anticipates will take place in early 2020, officials stated.

MWN will announce the hospital’s reopening thereafter.

(John Molina is a founding partner in Pacific6, the parent company of the Long Beach Post.)

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