Community Hospital Employees Receive Official Layoff Notices Two Months Before Site’s Closure

Community Medical Center Long Beach announced today that, in accordance with federal Department of Labor laws, it has issued notifications to its 213 employees of the hospital’s planned closure this summer following the discovery of a large active fault line on the property.

Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act, certain employers are required to notify workers 60 days in advance of the company’s closure and mass layoffs.

Around 213 full-time employees were given notice, of which, according to hospital CEO John Bishop 143 already have jobs lined up within the MemorialCare system.

“We’ve been able to mitigate the number of displaced employees in a very significant way,” Bishop told the Post. “The number of employees that have positions either with us or with other organizations will continue to increase over the next few months.”

A total of 36 employees are expected to stay beyond the July 3 closure to help with the winding down process, Bishop said. They will stay for about 90 days to help with removing equipment, among other work, in order to properly hand the facility back over to the City of Long Beach, which is the site’s landlord.

Because of a retention plan in place, including bonuses, officials said they expect employees to stay until July 3 and help continue operations during the remaining time until they begin work elsewhere immediately after.

Bishop said hospital officials anticipate to follow up on items suggested in an impact report prepared by the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency, which was requested by County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents Long Beach.

New Report by County Reveals Negative Impacts of Closing Long Beach Community Hospital

Specifically, Bishop said hospital officials intend to educate the public on the appropriate use of urgent care versus an emergency department, including communicating with patients that come to the hospital, through public media campaigns on social media.

Hospital officials will also address the Sexual Abuse Response Team program, the only one in Long Beach, which currently operates out of Community Hospital. Bishop said his staff is working closely with the program director to find an alternative location nearby.

Bishop said right now there are between 25-30 patients at the hospital with most of them being treated for behavioral health issues.

“We are going through an intentional decanting process that really won’t have a significant impact on the patient census until the second half of June,” Bishop said. “We’re creating capacity not only at Long Beach Memorial but we’re working with other behavioral health providers to make sure we can safely transition all patients knowing that we have to have zero patients on July 3.”

For the next month and a half it is business as usual at Community Hospital, according to Bishop, with an intentional wind-down process expected to begin during the second half of June.

“All of our efforts are being coordinated with the City of Long Beach, [Emergency Medical Services] and paramedics, Long Beach Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center and other local hospitals,” he said. “For the patients in our behavioral health unit, we are working with other behavioral health providers throughout the region—all to ensure a smooth transition of these and all services at the hospital.”

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. 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. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.