California hospital expedites ED closure plan

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Community Hospital Long Beach (Calif.) is shutting down its emergency department earlier than planned because of staffing shortages, the hospital announced Nov. 16. 

The operator of Community Hospital Long Beach, MWN Community Hospital, announced Nov. 4 that the facility is ending acute medical services and closing its ED. At that time, the transition was expected to take several months. The hospital said Nov. 16 that it is accelerating the timeline and will close the ED to ambulances Nov. 17 and close it to walk-ins on Nov. 24. 

The hospital is moving up the closure of the ED because of staffing challenges. Several nurse staffing agencies plan to cease providing services to the hospital this month, the hospital said Nov. 16. 

Community Hospital Long Beach workers are coordinating with area hospitals to ensure local residents have access to emergency care. 

MWN said Nov. 4 that it plans to transition the hospital into a behavioral health and wellness facility named Long Beach Community Wellness Campus. The transition will allow the hospital to avoid about $75 million in construction costs to bring it into compliance with California's seismic requirements for acute care hospitals. 

MWN said low patient volume was another reason for the transition. Community Hospital Long Beach is licensed for 79 beds, but only about 25 are typically used for patients each day, MWN said. 

Community Hospital Long Beach reopened earlier this year after closing in July 2018. The facility shut down after it was found to be on an active earthquake fault.

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