Authorities want to delay earthquake safety requirements to keep hospital open


In an effort to find another operator for a Long Beach medical center scheduled to close in July, the Los Angeles County Supervisory Board Tuesday urged state officials to extend a deadline for the hospital to meet earthquake-resistant safety requirements.

Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended sending a letter to Governor Jerry Brown and county legislative officials in support of Assembly Bill 2591, which would extend the seismic modernization deadline for the Long Beach Community Medical Center from June 2019 to 2025. AB 2591 is sponsored by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell, who represents Long Beach.

“It seems that the quake was not a real earthquake, but the announcement of the closure of this hospital, which sent shockwaves through the community,” Hahn said.

MemorialCare Health System, the nonprofit group that operates Long Beach Hospital, announced on March 5 that it would close in four months due to a failure to comply with state seismic requirements, citing a seismic fault which passes directly under the site.

“We have comprehensively explored all options for continuing to operate the Community Medical Center as an acute care hospital,” hospital executive director John Bishop said in the March statement. “This turned out to be impossible because large parts 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 viable acute care operations. “

City officials say MemorialCare was well aware of the fault line and the estimated $ 16 million security renovation required when it purchased the complex in 2011. The city was looking for someone new to lead the city. hospital, but was taken aback by the timing of the announcement, Hahn said.

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