Residents weigh in on vision for new Community Hospital

An emergency room. Mental health services. A daycare program for seniors. A space for the police department’s Sexual Assault Response Team.

These were just some of the services residents said they would like see when the new Community Hospital reopens next year.

The 94-year-old East Long Beach fixture shuttered this summer over seismic compliance issues, closing the area’s only emergency room. But the hospital is now on track to reopen in January under new operator Molina, Wu, Network.

Community will offer a smaller emergency room, an acute-care hospital and other services yet to be determined.

In a stakeholder input meeting on Tuesday night, operators were eager for public feedback.

“East Long Beach needs this,” said John Molina, a partner in Molina, Wu group, as he addressed the crowd. “We’re going to do all that we can, and as part of that we need your help.” (John Molina is a founding partner in Pacific6, the parent company of the Long Beach Post.)

Signal Hill resident Gary Dudley said he’s just happy to have a nearby emergency room. The 78-year-old said he fell recently and ended up at a rehab center far from home.

“It gives me peace of mind to know that we’ll have our local emergency room,” he said.

Dr. Michael Tehrani, an East Long Beach-based internist, said he’d like to see a comprehensive preventative-care program with workshops and lectures.

“There’s a lot that can be prevented,” he said.

Former operator, Memorial Healthcare System, opted to close Community earlier this year after the hospital was deemed out of compliance with seismic building codes due to its location on top of a fault line.

Community is limited for some services because of its seismic problems. The hospital, for example, will not have an obstetrics unit, but it could include a women’s health center with services like mammograms and pap smears.

Other suggestions included:

  • An inpatient/outpatient psychiatric care center for adults, children and adolescents.
  • A small urgent-care center
  • Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which provides comprehensive medical and social services for seniors
  • Daycare for Alzheimer’s patients
  • A holistic health program
  • Nutrition/exercise programs
  • Dialysis treatment and a comprehensive diabetes program

Fourth District Councilman Daryl Supernaw said programs for seniors and women’s health services are high on the list. But for now, the biggest priority is the reopening.

“Let’s get it open,” he said. “We’re very anxious for that.”

Memorial’s decision to suspend its license rather than let it lapse allowed for Molina, Wu to take over and reopen the hospital.

Operators are currently in lease negotiations and are expected to bring a proposal to the City Council later this month.

Click here to provide feedback on what you’d like to see at Community Hospital.

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].