The City of Long Beach has gone back to the negotiating table with Community Hospital’s chosen operator, Molina, Wu, Network, LLC (MWN), according to 4th District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw, who had expected the city council to reach a decision on the facility’s lease during a closed session meeting on February 19. He expected the item to be reviewed again in closed session on March 5. The hospital is within Supernaw’s district.
The current license to operate Community Hospital is still held by MemorialCare Health System, which relinquished its lease for the property last July due to concerns over its ability to make costly seismic upgrades required by the state. The health system agreed to put its license in suspense so that the new operator could assume the license rather than applying for a new one, which is a lengthier process. John Keisler, Long Beach’s director of economic development, previously told the Business Journal that the license expires April 28, and that the council needed to reach an agreement with MWN in advance of that expiration.
The deadline for Community Hospital to meet state seismic regulations is July 30, 2019, according to Diana Tang, the city’s government affairs manager. The city has been working with Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell’s office to come up with legislation that would extend that deadline. “The state agency that regulates it, OSHPD, does have administrative authority to extend that until December 31, 2019. So, even without a legislative extension, OSHPD can extend it through the end of the year,” she noted, referring to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
Sophia Kwong Kim, O’Donnell’s chief of staff, told the Business Journal that O’Donnell introduced a “spot bill” on February 22, the deadline for new bills to be submitted to the state legislature. Spot bills are submitted when a legislator does not have a fully crafted piece of legislation yet but needs to ensure consideration of a more detailed bill later in the legislative session, she explained.
Keisler told the Business Journal in January that it would cost $45 million or more to retrofit the hospital in order to bring it into seismic compliance.
On February 21, O’Donnell introduced a bill that would require hospitals to give 180 days’ notice before closing down or eliminating services. Currently, hospital operators are only required to provide 30 days’ notice before closing and 90 days before shutting down emergency services.