Community Hospital in Long Beach will begin accepting transfer patients this Saturday, March 21, hospital officials have announced.
The hospitals operators, along with state and local officials, acted quickly to make the facility available amid the new coronavirus pandemic, officials said in a Thursday, March 19, statement.
The hospital will not operate an emergency room and will not accept walk-in patients for the time being. At first, Community Hospital will primarily take in transfer patients who do not have the novel coronavirus, to help relieve the burden of other hospitals, said Brandon Dowling, spokesman for Molina, Wu, Network, the firm operating Community. As the hospital increases ICU operations, he added, the hospital will “be able to take on cases demanding a more acute level of care.”
“I want to thank Gov. Newsom, our state officials, the California Department of Public Health, and the City of Long Beach for their decisive efforts in the swift reopening of Community Hospital,” John Molina, a partner at MWN, said in a statement. “We are in a public health crisis and need every resource available to ensure that our community has access to these critical, life-saving services.”
The facility will add 158 hospital beds to the region, including 10 intensive care beds and 10 ventilators.
The facility’s clinical laboratory has been licensed by the California Department of Public Health, officials announced earlier this month. But the hospital still awaits a license to be able to run a pharmacy.
The hospital, on Termino Avenue at 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.
The hospital’s required seismic retrofit has not yet been completed; MWN has hired the Dallas-based HKS Architects to develop plans for the project.
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.