Hospital Update

The night after Christmas there were 52 patients in the Community Hospital Emergency Room at one time and many were really sick. Where would they have gone if Community wasn’t around? How much longer would they be sitting in another emergency room cross town waiting for help and would they have even made it there? The paramedics would not have been available to attend to many of these people because they would be spending much of the time on the road transporting people out of the district and diminishing their effectiveness where they are based.

Monday night Community was full and they are taking people elsewhere. What if Community wasn’t there in the first place? We have a serious issue with medical care in Long Beach.

In the 1980s there were at least eight hospitals in Long Beach. Four of them have closed, Memorial and Community have fewer beds now and yet the population has gone from 350K to 500K with more traffic on the roads.

If Community Hospital closed, all of central and east Long Beach (the majority of the population) would be in serious trouble. Los Alamitos is almost always full and beyond capacity.

We are currently trying to petition the state to give us an extension on the 2019 deadline and believe we will succeed. They may want a concession like we have an ongoing plan to retrofit or to build a new facility or move all the acute care beds from the tower to the front of the hospital which is compliant with the earthquake standards of California and has survived a major earthquake. However if Memorial pulls out who will manage/operate the hospital?

We are a break-even operation (which is actually quite good for the hospitals in California). This is where we stand and all we can hope for is that Memorial does not close the doors quickly as they are threatening to and take us out to June 2019 so we have time to make something happen.

E. Mike Vasilomanolakis, MD

 

The decision of MemorialCare to close Community Hospital is an excellent example of corporate greed. One of your other writers stated the corporation realized over $1 billion in profit for the last year. If this be true and I have no reason to suspect is it not, then that company should step up to the plate and give back to the community by forking over the dollars necessary to retrofit the structure. Many of your writers have described the long waits they had to deal with at Memorial and elsewhere. Unfortunately while corporate vermin have no trouble in sucking the life’s blood of a community, they have big trouble in giving back.

Now how does this relate the land use element? Well, our hospitals and other services for public safety such as the police are already overburdened. We have too many people here and do not need any more. Unknown even 10 years ago, one can now see traffic jams on Long Beach Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Avenue, etc. at times other than those traditionally thought of as rush hour. So increasing the density in this city will put even more demand on public safety services. Closing Community Hospital will only exacerbate the problem.

Unfortunately, our planning commission and city council and their predecessors in interest all the way back to the 1970s have never met a developer or project they did not like. It appears they are now willing to start packing new residents into our city just like sardines in a can.

The city should intervene by declaring Community Hospital a historical building and by petitioning the state of an extension of the deadline. Perhaps there are things they can do to make like unpleasant for MemorialCare until it changes its ways. Of course, they should vote down the land use element presently approved by the planning commission.

Finally, I would urge those who made so much noise at the last meeting of the planning commission to organize to put forth an Initiative to amend the City Charter to forbid these ultra-dense multi-storage structures. The nice thing about a charter amendment is the city council’s power to change it is very limited. Such an Initiative should be made retroactive to January 1, 2016. Additionally, let’s vote out any council person who votes to approve the land use element.

Name Withheld by Request

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