Long Beach hospital sitting on quake fault will close

Community Medical Center Long Beach announced Monday it will close in four months.

The announcement came three months after the release of a report that an active earthquake fault had been discovered under its property.

In November, the hospital's owner, MemorialCare Health System, announced that a seismic study had found an active fault under the campus.

According to the hospital, the news led to an "increasing departure of staff seeking longer-term opportunities."

Subsequently, the hospital submitted a 120-day lease termination notice to the city, which owns the land.

"This is a difficult announcement," said John Bishop, CEO of Community Hospital Long Beach. "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," Bishop continued. "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."

Bishop said the hospital hoped to transfer control of the facility to another operator that might find a way to continue offering behavioral healths services at the location. But the city rejected the proposal.

Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach, said he was "disheartened" by news of the center's pending closure.

"Community Hospital offers the only emergency room on the east side of the city," O'Donnell said. "This decision will put even more pressure on other emergency rooms throughout the region and endangers the health and safety of east side residents."

O'Donnell had introduced legislation that would extend the deadline for the facility to achieve seismic compliance until 2025.

"This announcement makes the effort to secure a provider for Community Hospital much more difficult," he said. "I urge stakeholders to stay engaged as we determine our next steps."

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