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Mayor Robert Garcia talks Friday at a rally protesting the end of critical ambulance patients being sent to Community Hospital of Long Beach as part of an impending closure.

Long Beach and the operators of Community Hospital have reached a tentative agreement to reopen the facility, the city announced on Friday, March 8.

Community Hospital closed last year after its former operator, MemorialCare, determined that a required seismic retrofitting would be too costly for the facility to remain financially viable. But Long Beach still owns the land, so the city quickly chose a new operator, Molina, Wu, Network, LLC, to reopen it.

The two parties have been negotiating the terms of the property’s lease ever since.

Some of the provisions of the agreement announced Friday are:

  • Community Hospital’s operation will be a public-private partnership between Long Beach and MWN;
  • The lease lasts 45 years, with the option of two 10-year extensions, at a lease rate of $1 a year;
  • The two sides will share funding responsibility of Community Hospital’s seismic retrofit costs for up to $50 million, meaning Long Beach will pay for up to $25 million, and MWN will be responsible for any additional costs of the retrofitting;
  • The property shall be used for the operation and maintenance of an acute care facility, professional office building, and other ancillary medical uses;
  • 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 Long Beach’s Everyone Home task force report, subject to appropriate licensure and regulatory approvals.

“Community Hospital provides important services for our residents across Long Beach,” said Councilmember Daryl Supernaw, who represents the 4th District, where the facility is located. “I look forward to joining my colleagues next week in reviewing the proposed major terms and provisions and making a decision based on the public’s best interest.”

The agreement will come to the City Council at its Tuesday, March 12 meeting, for approval. If the council OKs the deal, Long Beach will then work with the Office of Statewide Hospital Planning and Development and the State Legislature on a plan for seismic compliance. Meanwhile, MWN will finish the application for a new hospital license, which will require approval from the California Department of Public Health.

A statement from city staff said that if all moves forward according to plan, Community Hospital, at 1720 Termino Ave., could reopen later this year, although it did not provide a more specific timeframe.

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