93-year-old California hospital to close over inability to meet new seismic standards

Community Medical Center Long Beach (Calif.), which opened in 1924 and is part of Fountain Valley, Calif.-based MemorialCare Health System, will close in the near future due to the inability to retrofit the hospital to meet California's seismic standards.

When MemorialCare acquired Community Medical Center Long Beach in 2011, officials knew it had seismic challenges. However, the hospital consulted with seismic experts, structural engineers and architects as part of recent seismic studies, which revealed the fault running below the hospital is larger and more active than previously known, hospital officials said Monday, according to The Grunion. This means the hospital will not meet California's new earthquake safety requirements for acute care hospitals, which go into effect June 30, 2019.

John Bishop, CEO of the three MemorialCare hospitals in Long Beach, said because the wide fault zone is under the majority of the hospital campus, no work can be done to make the hospital viable, according to the Long Beach Post.

"We are all saddened that the findings were not more encouraging for the future of Community Medical Center Long Beach," said Mr. Bishop. He said MemorialCare has no choice but to close the hospital. However, he said hospital and city officials will work together on transition plans to meet the needs of the community.

"Nothing involved in this was an elective decision. We had no choice," Mr. Bishop said. "I'm saddened by this, but I want to assure Long Beach residents MemorialCare continues to be dedicated to providing the healthcare the city needs."

Mr. Bishop said hospital officials will discuss the matter with city officials to determine how long the hospital and its emergency department will remain open.

A recent study found there are seven acute care hospitals within a short distance of Community Medical Center Long Beach that could absorb the hospital's patients, and the need for acute care inpatient beds will decrease as more patients are shifted to outpatient care settings, according to the Long Beach Post

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