UPDATE April 29, 12:01pm | Under an agreement struck between the two hospitals, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center’s parent company has assumed control of Community Hospital of Long Beach effective today, Friday, April 29.
The amiable takeover by MemorialCare Health System was necessary to ensure that Community Hospital’s doors are able to remain open past Jan. 1, 2013.
That date is the deadline by which the Termino Avenue hospital must have completed an estimated $16 million, state-mandated seismic retrofit. Though the hospital had remained fiscally solvent since being reopened, it lacked the financial resources necessary to complete such a costly undertaking.
Now that MemorialCare owns and operates the facility, the retrofit, other time-sensitive capital improvements, physical improvements and the acquisition of new equipment can be completed.
“Community Hospital Long Beach will continue to benefit East Long Beach for decades to come,” said Nancy Myers, who served as Community Hospital of Long Beach’s board chair, in a statement. “Being part of MemorialCare brings new opportunities for our dedicated physicians, nurses and other professionals to provide the local community with greater health services while maintaining the level of highly personalized care that Community Hospital offers.”
Community Hospital is MemorialCare Health System’s sixth hospital facility in Los Angeles and Orange counties and third hospital in Long Beach.
“Our ownership of Community Hospital Long Beach will enhance the ability of these remarkable hospitals to continue providing exceptional care for our communities well into the future,” said Barry Arbuckle Ph.D., president and CEO of the not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System, in a statement.
All Community Hospital employees and leadership team members have been encouraged to remain in their positions, and most have agreed to continue working at the hospital as employees of MemorialCare.
A search for a hospital administrator responsible for Community Hospital’s overall operations and business development is currently underway, according to MemorialCare.
The merger positions Diana Hendel Pharm.D., who has headed up Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital for more than two years, as the new CEO of the three local hospitals.
“We are excited to add such a dedicated and talented team of employees, physicians and volunteers to the MemorialCare family,” Hendel said in a statement. “They embody the can-do spirit that has made Community Hospital a provider of choice in East Long Beach.”
With a combined total of 1,006-licensed beds, the three Long Beach hospitals employ a combined total of 5,900 employees, 1,400 affiliated physicians and 1,000 volunteers.
MemorialCare officials said that plans are in development to expand the services currently offered at Community Hospital.
March 21, 11:01am | Community Hospital of Long Beach is set to soon become part of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center to ensure that its doors remain open.
The final item listed on tomorrow’s Long Beach city council agenda is a recommendation to authorize the city manager to terminate the lease agreement the city has with Community Hospital of Long Beach for city-owned property at 1720 Termino Ave., where the hospital is located.
The agenda item also calls for the city manager to execute a lease agreement for the same property with Long Beach Memorial for 55 years at $1 per year.
While Community Hospital remains fiscally solvent, it is unable to cover the cost of an estimated $16 million seismic retrofit mandated by the state, according to a staff report. Without the retrofit, the hospital would be forced to close its doors beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
In anticipation, Community Hospital and Long Beach Memorial have been in negotiations regarding the transfer of Community Hospital’s lease to Long Beach Memorial, according to the staff report.
“The long-term operation of the site by Memorial would allow Memorial to invest the funds necessary for time-sensitive capital improvements, including the seismic retrofit of the existing facilities, other physical improvements and the procurement of new equipment,” the staff report reads. “These improvements are critical to the continued long-term operation of the site as a health care facility.”
In addition to assuming the existing property inventory, all Community Hospital employees will become employees of Long Beach Memorial.
Councilman Patrick O’Donnell, in whose district the 8.7-acre hospital site is located, issued a statement Friday backing the move.
“I am very supportive of these actions, as this will preserve emergency health care services for the East side of Long Beach,” the Fourth District councilman said. “Community Hospital has long been a vital health care system for our community, and will continue to be, thanks to the ongoing efforts of its board, staff and Memorial Healthcare.
“This change is necessary in a very fluid health care environment, and I will be recommending full council support,” O’Donnell said.
The hospital site was formerly operated by Catholic Healthcare West as Long Beach Community Hospital, which folded its operations in 2000 and conveyed ownership of the property to the city, according to the staff report.
Community members concerned about the impact of the loss of the hospital’s acute care services soon launched a “concerted community effort,” according to the staff report, to save the hospital. This lead to the formation of Community Hospital of Long Beach, which entered into its current lease with the city for the property at $1 per year for 20 years.
That lease, the termination of which council members are expected to approve tomorrow, would have expired on Jan. 31, 2020.
Disclosure: Long Beach Post publisher Shaun Lumachi is a member of the Community Hospital of Long Beach Board of Directors.