Community Hospital officially closes Tuesday; city hopes new operator will reopen soon

Tuesday marked an end of an era as MemorialCare concluded its role as operator of Community Hospital, effectively shuttering the 94-year-old East Long Beach facility indefinitely.

Medical services had progressively been reduced since the operator of the facility announced this spring that it would close in July after experiencing an exodus of its staff in response to MemorialCare’s November announcement that it would cease operations by 2019 due to the discovery of a large fault line on the campus.

Emergency services had been halted in late June, and according to officials, there were no more patients in the hospital’s final days of operation and only a skeletal staff remained. On Tuesday, a handful of vehicles were parked in the loading zone in front of the hospital, but doors plastered with ‘Notice of Closure’ signs were locked.

A notice of closure stands in front of Community Hospital’s main doors July 3, 2018. Photo by Stephanie Rivera.

The only thing still visibly working was a water fountain in the hospital’s courtyard.

Since the announced closure, and in response to numerous requests to save the hospital by community members, the city—which owns the land and the building—has been working with MemorialCare and the hospital’s potential new operator Molina, Wu, Network, to minimize the gap in service and get facility the reopened.  (John Molina is part of that bid, and is also a founding partner in Pacific6, the parent company of the Long Beach Post).

Memorial Care agrees to suspend license potentially easing transition for new Community Hospital operator

Over the weekend, in an email to his constituents, Mayor Robert Garcia said that MemorialCare had formally submitted days before a letter to the California Department of Public Health requesting a “suspension” of its hospital license after July 3 until the new operators obtains all the required approvals to re-open the facility.

“The City will continue to work with its chosen operator to address the seismic issues, obtain financing and secure required regulatory approvals for the transition of Community Hospital,” Garcia said.

It is unclear how long that process will take, and when exactly Community Hospital will open again.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.