Evolving Plan to Advance Healthcare at CHLB

By: 
Katherine Clements

After almost three years of not being operational, the Community Hospital of Long Beach has resumed production and is constructing a new version of CHLB while being a functioning hospital.

For 97 years, the Community Hospital of Long Beach (CHLB) has provided its community with acute hospital care. After a brief shutdown in 2018, CHLB reopened in January 2021 under a new operator, Molina Wu Network LLC. John Molina of Pacific6 Enterprises has worked incessantly behind and in front of the scenes to get the CHLB operating once again.

During the Long Beach Rotary meeting on April 6, Founding Partner of Pacfic6, John Molina, hosted a half an hour discussion to address the current and future state and progress of the CHLB.

The preparation that goes into reopening a hospitable is time-consuming and costly. The weeks required to staff, develop, and financially adjust have now been completed, and Molina has moved forward to execute his goals of restoring, reopening, and reimaging the CHLB.

What attracted Pacific6 as a partnership is the legacy of excellence. “The hospital has been serving the community for almost 100 years,” says Molina. “It has a reputation for being the people’s hospital; it truly is a community hospital.”

CHLB has demonstrated advancement in health care for years; they were one of the first ICUs in Long Beach and a leading operator of the 911 system.

In 2018, 94 years after its first opening, the hospital was shut down for not meeting the seismic standards.

“Now that we venture from 2018 knee-deep in the seismic issue, I would say in 2021 we are now neck-deep in the seismic renovation and compliance,” says Molina

“It is not for the faint of heart, but we were able to craft a plan that I believe finances this project. The financing key has been the support from city council the district that the hospital is in,” Molina says the hospital will rise from the ashes like a burning phoenix.

On Jan. 4, CHLB reopened for transfer patients. The hospital has over $6 million in new equipment, renovations, and refurbishments. It is licensed for 11 ICU beds (which will soon go up to 20), 40 medical and surgical beds, and 28 behavioral health beds.

“We took a long time to talk to the community in various meetings and getting feedback from folks as to what services are wanted and needed,” said Molina.

Through a partnership with Pacific Gateway, CHLB has hired over 180 employees, many of whom are former hospital employees.

CHLB is preparing for the reopening of the Emergency Department in May.

Following the emergency room opening in, CHLB will begin to focus on COVID-19 patients, and they have been able to secure immunizations for COVID-19 and have begun distributing the vaccine.

The mission of CHLB is “to provide compassionate, high-quality healthcare and to restore, maintain and advance health and wellness of the patients and communities we serve.”

Molina expanded on this mission statement by saying, “our goal is not to be all things to all people, but to provide a niche for the community to go to as a healing center, and that’s why caring, compassionate stewardship are some of the very high values that we hold.”

Services at the CHLB are very community-focused, including an emergency department that was the overall greatest need heard from all the outreaches that Molina and Pacific6 did with the community. Other services will include:

  • An intensive care unit
  • General surgery
  • Behavioral and mental health services
  • Diagnostic imaging and radiology
  • Clinical laboratory services
  • Rehabilitation
  • A pharmacy

Long Beach’s community spoke out against the lack of behavioral and mental services provided in Long Beach, therefore making that service one of the most meaningful and essential benefits to the reopening of CHLB.

Pacific6 has been credited for their work done at CHLB, but they are not working solo. Partners of Pacific6 include the City of Long Beach, the CHLB foundation, the California Department of Health, the Office of Statewide Health, Planning and Development (OSHOP), and the HKS architecture firm.

“They (partners) have done a wonderful job and have been awesome to work with,” said Molina. “Given everything that has been going on during the COVID-19 pandemic, having these regulators to work with has been nothing short of a miracle.”

Looking ahead into the future of CHLB, Molina says, “We really want to pivot the hospital from being a place where you go just when you’re sick to a full-service wellness campus.”

CHLB and Pacific6 will continue to focus on preserving the current services and expanding future ones. The hospital will extend its invitation to the community by bringing to life its vision of building a public park that will open ramps down towards the traffic circle with lush gardens and walkways.

Senior housing is also the future for CHLB and programs such as yoga and mental and behavioral health services, and wellness pampering.

CHLB asks the community for their help in return by getting the word out, using the services provided at the CHLB, and giving as much feedback and suggestions as possible.

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