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Community Hospital in Long Beach is one step closer to reopening.

The California Department of Public Health has licensed the facility’s clinical laboratory, operators announced last Tuesday, March 10.

“Though this has, at times, been a difficult and complicated process, we’ve made excellent progress on a very urgent timeline,” said John Molina, a partner at Molina, Wu, Network, LLC, which manages the hospital. “For nearly 100 years, this hospital has been part of the fabric of our city — it’s worth every bit of effort.”

The application process for another license from the state, which will be required to run Community Hospital’s pharmacy, is underway.

The hospital’s leaders are also working to restore its historic facade and to hire a management team and department heads.

A statement from MWN said “a majority of CHLB’s former senior management are expected to return to their prior positions.”

Anyone interested in working for the hospital should fill out an employment interest form at pacific-gateway.org/communityhospital.

The hospital, on Termino Avenue near Pacific Coast Highway, closed its doors in the summer of 2018, after its former operator, MemorialCare, determined a state-required seismic retrofit would be too costly for the facility to remain financially viable.

Long Beach owns the property, so leaders quickly sought to find a new operator that would commit to reopening the hospital, which had the only emergency room serving East Long Beach. It found that operator in the newly formed MWN, and the two sides negotiated a lease agreement that the City Council approved in October.

Tuesday’s announcement also noted that MWN has hired the Dallas-based HKS Architects to develop plans for the seismic retrofit.

Long Beach and MWN are splitting the cost of the retrofit, although the costs the city will incur are capped at $25 million. The Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation has agreed to provide a $1 million grant toward the effort, and as part of that grant, the nonprofit handed a check of more than $260,000 to HKS Architects late last month.

Assuming all of the necessary state licenses are approved, Community Hospital’s operators expect to begin accepting patients later this year.

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