Emergency Room Closes

By: 
Eric Bailey

Community Hospital has once again closed its doors to acute and emergency medical services on Wednesday after a short-lived revival and plans to shift its focus to mental and physical wellness.

Molina, Wu, Network, LLC (MWN)-the current operator of Community Hospital made the decision to shift its operational focuses Nov. 4 due to a lack of patients since emergency services were restored last May.

“Our primary goal has always been to ensure that the residents of east Long Beach have access to quality healthcare services and the Long Beach Community Wellness Campus will answer critical community needs,” said John Molina, partner at MWN in a Nov. 4 press release.

MWN had entered an agreement to lease the hospital from the city-owned hospital and was able to provide what was the only ER services on the city’s eastside. Though Community Hospital did not treat any COVID-19 patients, its reopening for non-COVID related medical services was able to relieve other medical centers to focus their efforts to treat coronavirus patients.

Though Community Hospital provides the city with its only emergency medical services on the eastside, they’ve only seen an inpatient occupancy rate of 32.4%. Only about 35 beds are used by patients day-to-day, out of 79 total beds currently licensed, according to the MWN press release.

The release also mentions that the hospital’s current average of about 24 patients per day is a substantial drop from 90 per day before the 2018 closure.

Hurdled with the endless task of repairs and structural upgrades for the building originally constructed in 1924, necessary repairs to bring the hospital up to state seismic regulations is a main factor in MemorialCare ceasing its operation of the hospital in 2018.

 “The last 18 months have been centered around the complex challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic,” Molina said in the release. “Delays in our hospital relicensing, limited availability of equipment, supplies and staff, and rapidly increasing costs for required construction have made operating an acute care hospital on the site unfeasible.”

The Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation hopes to keep the hospital open amid MWN announcing the intent to close.

“Keeping Community’s emergency room open is a citywide matter,” said Ray Burton, CHLB Foundation president to the Press-Telegram. “Just look at the wait times at the other two (St. Mary Medical and MemorialCare Long Beach) without Community,”

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