Community Hospital Again Faces Closure

Community Medical Center Long Beach announced Monday that it has informed the City of Long Beach of recent findings from independent seismic studies, confirming that beneath the hospital is a larger, active fault than was previously known.

This new information is supported by significant due diligence, including consulting with seismic experts, structural engineers and architects. It has therefore been determined, and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has confirmed that due to the active fault line and California’s legal requirements for acute care hospitals, Community Medical Center cannot meet the seismic compliance regulation effective June 30, 2019.

“We are all saddened that the findings were not more encouraging for the future of Community Medical Center Long Beach. Since the land and buildings are owned by the City of Long Beach, we will work collaboratively with the city on transition plans that focus on the needs of the community. In the meantime, we will continue operating the facility for a yet-to-be-determined period of time, providing quality and compassionate care,” says John Bishop, Community Medical Center CEO.

Concurrent with the seismic studies was a study conducted by a nationally known, respected third-party organization that assessed the current and future medical services demand so as to better understand the need for general acute care hospital services in the Long Beach community. The analysis looked at inpatient and emergency demand and utilization rates; volume analysis and forecast; the current hospital marketplace; strategies for inpatient services; supply of inpatient health care services versus projected demand; area urgent care centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs); and health care trends that may affect current and future utilization.

The study found that Community Medical Center’s service area has seven acute care hospitals within a short travel distance, all with a large number of available patient care beds and excess capacity. It showed a low combined occupancy rate of only 56 percent of licensed inpatient beds. This means that, on average, area hospitals have approximately 800 licensed hospital beds that are vacant and available for additional patients each day.

The study also found that it is likely that the need for acute care inpatient hospital beds will decrease even further due to the industry-wide shift from inpatient settings to outpatient care settings, continued reduction in the average length of hospital stays and increasing population health initiatives that are meant to improve the overall management of individual patients. Therefore, the conclusion is that nearby area hospitals could absorb the number of acute care hospital patients currently served by Community Medical Center.

The study also examined local emergency departments and found that Community Medical Center’s emergency department visits represent only about 10 percent of total ER visits. Over half of the area’s ER visits are considered low acuity and these patients can be seen in other settings such as at the more than two dozen urgent care centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers that are located in Long Beach.

It also found that the appropriate use of urgent care and other facilities, the upcoming addition of a psychiatric urgent care center in Long Beach in the first half of 2018 and the expansion of three hospitals’ emergency departments in Long Beach will serve to help increase the availability of emergency and urgent care services in the city.

Community Medical Center remains as committed to its employees as those employees are to the patients and community. It is providing its employees “stay on” bonuses, guaranteed or preferential review transfer opportunities, job training and placement assistance and on-going support resources. Together Community Medical Center and its employees will ensure a smooth and timely transition for both the community and those who care for it.

Submitted by Community Medical Center

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