Emergency and acute care ending at Community Hospital Long Beach

Ambulances are no longer accepted at the emergency room and walk-ins will end next week.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Community Hospital Long beach has announced ambulances will not be accepted at the emergency room starting Wednesday morning.

The emergency department will also close to all walk-ins the following week.

"The reason that we're being told that the hospital and the emergency room is closing is because of the cost of the seismic retrofit, because of the inability to secure stuff, equipment, supplies, a whole host of reasons," said Matthew Faulkner, executive director of Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation.

The Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation is a separate nonprofit that supports the hospital.

Faulkner said foundation members did not know about the closure until they saw it in the newspaper in early November.

Foundation members say part of the hospital is on a fault line and seismic retrofits have been done in the past to evaluate the hospitals safety.

"The seismic retrofit costs have gone up substantially. If you talk to the architects, they'll tell you we're looking at a billing of about $61 million. If you talk to the people at MWN, they'll say we're looking at a cost of about $75 million," said Ray Burton, chairman for the Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation.

Foundation members said this is the third time there's been a closure at the hospital.

The hospital's current operator Molina Wu Network, or MWN, is leasing the hospital property from the city of Long Beach and announced earlier this month that the emergency room and acute care hospital will be closing.
ABC7 reached out to the hospital for a comment and were referred to their corporate office which has not gotten back.

On Tuesday, Long Beach City Council met in a closed session, but council members say they cannot comment on it.

The notice on the hospital's website says, "On average, less than 5% of cases in the CHLB emergency department need emergency intervention with the rest likely able to be handled in a lower acuity facility, such as an urgent care center."

Foundation members disagree.

"The problem is they don't know that until they get to the emergency department. It takes a trained professional in medical treatment to diagnose a patient to see if it is indeed heartburn or heart attack," said Burton.

"Some medical emergencies require immediate care and if you're being transported across town and it's taking you 15, 20 minutes, that may be too late for you," said Faulkner.

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