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California hospital shuts down, new operator hopes to reopen facility

Community Medical Center Long Beach (Calif.), which opened in 1924, closed July 3 due to the inability to retrofit the hospital to meet California's seismic standards.

Here are seven 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 announcedfindings 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 hospital and the land it sits on, verified the findings from the independent study, and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development confirmed that Community Medical Center would be unable to meet California's seismic compliance regulations that go 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.

4. On March 5, MemorialCare submitted a 120-day lease termination notice with the city of Long Beach. "This is a difficult announcement," John Bishop, CEO of MemorialCare Community Medical Center, Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach, said in a statement in March. "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. MemorialCare's lease of the facility ended July 3, and the hospital shut down. However, MemorialCare worked with the city of Long Beach and the California Department of Public Health to arrange for the hospital's license to be suspended. This will make it easier for the facility's new operator — Molina, Wu, Network — to reopen the facility.

"Putting the hospital license in suspense creates additional flexibility for the City and the new operator following the temporary closure," said John Keisler, director of economic and property development for the city of Long Beach. "In addition, MemorialCare has pledged to continue to support the City in its efforts to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to transition operations to a new operator."

6. Molina, Wu, Network is composed of John and Mario Molina, formerly of Molina Healthcare, and Jonathan Wu, MD, chair of AHMC Healthcare.

7. "MemorialCare has worked collaboratively with us and provided a path to transition to a new operator," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "It is now the City's responsibility to work with our new partner, Molina, Wu, Network, to address the seismic, regulatory, financing and related issues so that we can reopen the hospital."

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