Long Beach Community Medical Center Expects to Reopen With New Name, Fewer Services
Almost one year after Catholic Healthcare West decided to close Long Beach Community Medical Center, the hospital is expected to reopen on Monday with a new owner and a new name, Community Hospital of Long Beach, the Los Angeles Times reports. The facility, which is officially owned by the city of Long Beach, has been "rescued" by a coalition of local doctors and residents and a number of volunteers, who raised the $15 million needed to operate the hospital. Bette Keller, chair of the hospital's board, said, "We had people giving small and large donations. We also had people do maintenance, like cleaning air vents, so we could save money." When Community Hospital reopens after receiving state approval, which is expected this week, it will offer fewer services and have a staff of 230, compared to 720 when it closed. Although it once had 261 beds, that number will be scaled down to 107, with the first 32 beds available on Monday. The hospital will continue to offer emergency and basic medical, surgical, radiological and cancer-treatment care, but it will no longer offer neonatal intensive care and cardiac surgery. Community Hospital President and CEO Robert Pugach said the hospital will "start up slowly," adding that it expects to bring back "old services in the near future." Applications for staff doctors are being sorted, and hospital officials expect the staff to grow "in time." The Times reports that Community Hospital is reopening in a "tumultuous health care economy," with most hospitals statewide losing money. However, Keller said that the hospital's board has a "smart business plan" and is not offering services that could bring "big losses" (Surendran, Los Angeles Times, 6/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.