Hospital Running Out of Time

E Mike Vasilomanolakis MD

As you know by now earthquake regulations by the state of California mandate that hospitals need to be seismically safe. A deadline of June 30, 2019, was placed on Community Hospital to achieve this because the back part of the hospital is on a fault line, the same one that runs all along Pacific Coast Highway from the traffic circle to Seal Beach. This is considered an "active" fault line because by definition there has been an earthquake on this fault within the last 11,000 years..

MemorialCare , which operates Community Hospital announced today that they will close the hospital by July 3, 2018. This is one year sooner than they need to or that is required by the state of California. They have been approached about why they need to close it one year sooner than need be and the grave impact this will have. The reason cited is a confusing....we are closing one year earlier because ever since we announced that we will be closing the hospital staff are starting to leave. This is odd because no physicians have left and there is an endless source of nurses. The closure is taking place rapidly making it strategically difficult to get a new operator on time. Having a new operator would be great for the hospital and the people of east and central Long Beach but understandibly not a welcome competitor to the established hospitals of Long Beach.

Today MemorialCare made the official announcement of the closure date. They mentioned that they will be able to handle the overload from East Long Beach. What is odd is that their emergency room tonight is closed and diverting all patients to other hospitals because they are filled up. Now this is happening even with Community Hospital's emergency room still open. Imagine what would happen if the emergency room at Community was already closed. I am informed that, St. Mary's, Lakewood Regional, and Los Alamitos are also filled up tonite. When this scenario occurs, which is often, patients are usually taken to further away hospitals as in Norwalk and Downey.  By the way the extra time taken by the fire department transporting people to faraway places leaves the citizens of East Long Beach that much longer without emergency fire and paramedic services.

The East side of Long Beach needs an emergency room. This should never be taken away. It puts everyone at risk. I thought the  mission and objective of hospitals was to help people. 



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