94-year-old California hospital on active earthquake fault to close: 6 things to know

Community Medical Center Long Beach (Calif.), which opened in 1924, will close within the next four months.

Here are six things to know.

1. Fountain Valley, Calif.-based MemorialCare Health System acquired the lease for Community Medical Center in 2011. In November 2017, the hospital announced findings from an independent study that showed a wide, active fault zone under the campus. For the study, the hospital consulted with seismic experts, structural engineers and architects.

2. The city of Long Beach, which owns the land the hospital sits on and the facility, verified the findings from the independent study, and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development confirmed that Community Medical Center cannot meet California's seismic compliance regulation that goes into effect June, 30, 2019, due to the active fault line.

3. In November 2017, after receiving the results from the independent study, the hospital announced it would have to close due to the inability to retrofit the hospital to meet California's seismic standards. Since that announcement, many hospital employees have left for longer-term opportunities, according to Community Medical Center officials.

4. On March 5, MemorialCare submitted a 120-day lease termination notice with the city of Long Beach. "This is a difficult announcement," hospital CEO John Bishop said in a statement. "We exhaustively explored all options to continue operations at Community Medical Center as an acute care hospital. This proved not possible since large portions of the facility would have to be demolished, resulting in a small, 94-year-old hospital with no more than 20 acute care beds, which would not allow for viable acute care operations."

5. A hospital spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times the lease ends July 3. However, the hospital could close before that date if it continues to lose more staff, according to the report.

6. The hospital currently has about 284 staff members, down from 370 before the closure announcement last year. The spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times approximately 80 staff members will be moved to other MemorialCare facilities.

"We did not take this decision lightly, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ease the transition for affected employees, physicians and our patients," Mr. Bishop said.

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