Community Hospital reopening delayed to projected date of spring 2019

Hospital officials urge ‘patience’ for residents during planning process

John+Molina%2C+founder+of+Pacific+6+Enterprises+and+partner+of+hospital+operator+Molina%2C+Wu%2C+Network%2C+LLC.%2C+announced+at+the+Community+Hospital+Long+Beach+Reopening+Task+Force+meeting+Dec.+19+at+the+Long+Beach+Yacht+Club+that+the+facility+will+not+meet+the+team%E2%80%99s+target+opening+date+of+Jan.+1.+Delays+include+finalizing+City+negotiations+and+addressing+financing%2C+safety-standard+and+equipment+issues.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Community Hospital reopening delayed to projected date of spring 2019

John Molina, founder of Pacific 6 Enterprises and partner of hospital operator Molina, Wu, Network, LLC., announced at the Community Hospital Long Beach Reopening Task Force meeting Dec. 19 at the Long Beach Yacht Club that the facility will not meet the team’s target opening date of Jan. 1. Delays include finalizing City negotiations and addressing financing, safety-standard and equipment issues.

John Molina, founder of Pacific 6 Enterprises and partner of hospital operator Molina, Wu, Network, LLC., announced at the Community Hospital Long Beach Reopening Task Force meeting Dec. 19 at the Long Beach Yacht Club that the facility will not meet the team’s target opening date of Jan. 1. Delays include finalizing City negotiations and addressing financing, safety-standard and equipment issues.

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

John Molina, founder of Pacific 6 Enterprises and partner of hospital operator Molina, Wu, Network, LLC., announced at the Community Hospital Long Beach Reopening Task Force meeting Dec. 19 at the Long Beach Yacht Club that the facility will not meet the team’s target opening date of Jan. 1. Delays include finalizing City negotiations and addressing financing, safety-standard and equipment issues.

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

John Molina, founder of Pacific 6 Enterprises and partner of hospital operator Molina, Wu, Network, LLC., announced at the Community Hospital Long Beach Reopening Task Force meeting Dec. 19 at the Long Beach Yacht Club that the facility will not meet the team’s target opening date of Jan. 1. Delays include finalizing City negotiations and addressing financing, safety-standard and equipment issues.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






When folks ring in the new year Jan. 1, eager residents and stakeholders won’t have a functioning, licensed or accessible Community Hospital at their disposal, as on-site officials at a recent task-force meeting announced that the facility will not reopen the first day of 2019 as anticipated.

At the Community Hospital Long Beach Reopening Task Force’s meeting Dec. 19 at the Long Beach Yacht Club, 6201 Appian Wy., John Molina–founder of Pacific 6 Enterprises and partner of hospital operator Molina, Wu, Network, LLC. (MWN)– and Virg Narbutas, CEO of Community Hospital, explained that a multitude of factors, including City negotiations, financing, safety standards and equipment necessities, are contributing to the delay.

“There has been no breakdown in communication, there is no impasse, there is no cog, there is no stall,” Molina said. “I dare even call this a negotiation. ‘Negotiation’ connotates one side over here and one side over there. We know where the middle is. The issue for us is how we’re going to get there. I think on our part, speaking for the operators, we now appreciate the struggles [MemorialCare] went through in trying to figure out what possible solutions are. This is a much more complicated transaction, I think, than we thought. Now, the difference is we’re not ready to give up. We won’t; we’re going to solve this problem.”

A new reopening timeline revealed at the meeting showed a projected opening date of spring 2019, specifically April 1, 2019. However, Molina affirmed that it’s merely a projection.

Virg Narbutas, CEO of Community Hospital Long Beach (pictured), displayed a timeline for the now delayed Community Hospital reopening date at the Long Beach Yacht Club. Officials said the Molina, Wu, Network, LLC (MWN). team is eyeing a spring 2019 date. However, meeting the new target date means efficiently addressing the myriad problems contributing to the delay in a short amount of time, said John Molina, founder of Pacific 6 Enterprises and partner of hospital operator MWN.

“What we want to avoid is repromising a date and then missing it,” he said. “I don’t think there is a person here who is surprised Jan. 1 slipped and isn’t disappointed that it wasn’t hit.”

Reaching that spring target date requires successfully addressing a heap of variables, Narbutas said.

Previous operator MemorialCare left over some equipment in the transition earlier this year, but a lot of technology still needs to be purchased.

Contract services, such as for an emergency-physicians group, require months in advance to request assistance, Narbutas said. Then comes the necessity of verifying physician credentials and checking electronic medical records.

These are to-do items that require months of dedication, Narbutas said.

“If we have everything ready to go, and we’re going to take possession, we’re talking about three months,” he said. “We need time. But we’ve accomplished some milestones. We submitted the licensing application. That’s complete and done, and it’s cooking. We’re thinking that at the end of this month they’ll have that done. Then, we’ll have to have the employees ready.”

Narbutas said employees are expected to transition into the hospital approximately a month before the facility opens.

Narbutas clarified there is a three-month process for reopening, but the proverbial clock doesn’t start ticking until an agreement is reached with the City. One resident pointed out the “vagueness” of the timeline, expressing empathy but also frustration about the situation.

Molina, who said MWN meets with the City about twice a week– and sometimes even more– said the discontent is mutual. In regard to purchasing equipment, Molina said the team didn’t receive a list of what the hospital needed until recently.

“Two weeks ago, we didn’t know what to buy,” he said. “And that’s another thing, we still don’t know, although we’re talking to the folks a lot in OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development), they are the ones who are ultimately going to grant us the license to go in. Now, as you recall, all of this is tied into the seismic retrofit. The City’s been evaluating what that costs, Memorial has evaluated what that cost, and we brought in our own team.”

Denny Cristales
Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune
The pictured reopening timeline for Community Hospital Long Beach, which is planned for a spring 2019 date

Molina said MWN projected that the total retrofit process, a necessary step to meet the State standards for seismic safety, will toll $45 million. The added equipment cost may add an additional $5 million to $10 million.

He added that staff have to be hired and potentially not compensated for their work during a six-month process.

“So, someone’s got to carry on, because I’m sure the employees want to be paid during that six-month period,” he said. “Part of what we’re trying to figure out is how are we going to pay for all this. The hospital never made more than a couple million dollars at its best. If we have to borrow $45 million at 5 percent, we’re going to have to pay back in interest– just an interest– of $2-and-a-half million a year. The hospital doesn’t make $2 million a year. That’s an issue. That’s not a recipe for long-term success.”

Options include researching for potential government programs or capital sources that could assist in funding the facility.

Also throwing a wrench into the seismic-retrofit project are the different criteria OSHPD standards dictate when either moving into a new hospital or renovating/upgrading a current hospital, Molina said.

For instance, if the cost of the project is greater than 50 percent of the facility’s value, OSHPD technically would consider Community a new hospital– which means new requirements.

Additionally, MWN’s team are researching the list of services that were requested and suggested by residents at its prior meeting Oct. 16 to determine the feasibility of implementing them.

“What I want to emphasize is that these are the speedbumps,” Molina said. “We haven’t hit a wall. These are speedbumps, and every time we get one, we collectively think, ‘What can we do?’ So, we’re talking with [Assemblymember] Patrick O’Donnell’s office and asking if there is a legislative fix. We’re talking with all sorts of people on the finance side. […] We need to make sure that the hospital for the next however long– 50, 60 years– stays financially viable.”