OSHPD extends Community Hospital’s seismic-compliance deadline to 2025

Hospital foundation director confirms news at meeting this week.


Photos by Denny Cristales | Signal Tribune

Long Beach residents gathered Tuesday, June 11, at Parkers’ Lighthouse to hear an update about the reopening of Community Hospital Long Beach.

With what is touted as a “major milestone,” Community Hospital Long Beach (CHLB) Foundation Executive Director Matthew Faulkner told local residents Tuesday that the medical facility has achieved a seismic-compliance deadline extension to Jan. 1, 2025.

Serving as guest speaker Tuesday, June 11, at Parkers’ Lighthouse restaurant for the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Faulkner said the City of Long Beach and operator of CHLB– Molina, Wu, Network, LLC (MWN)– recently received approval from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) for the extension.

According to a CHLB Foundation press release that same Tuesday emailed to the Signal Tribune, OSHPD’s approval outlines the following dates for the medical facility: The submission of a rebuild and construction plan by July 1, 2020; the start of construction by Jan. 1, 2022; and the completion of construction by Jan. 1, 2025.

“I’d like to say that we’re about 85 to 90 percent of the way there,” Faulkner said Tuesday in regard to the reopening of CHLB. “[…] Remember, a hospital has to be able to withstand a major seismic event. And after the 1933 earthquake in Long Beach– when everything came down– one building was standing, […] [and it was] Community Hospital.”

The extension was granted in accordance with Assembly Bill 2190 provisions, a program of seismic safety building standards for certain hospitals.

According to the foundation, the areas that are included in the seismic retrofit and rebuild are: 1957 Elevator Addition; the Hatfield Building; Maintenance and Loading Dock Canopy; North Addition and 1964 Addition; Elevator and Stair Additions; the Auditorium Addition; Equipment Building and Mechanical Room; and the Emergency Elevator Building.

Ray Burton, chairman of CHLB Foundation, said in a press release that the extension is crucial in the reopening of the hospital.

“We are very pleased to announce this and also announce that compliance with this ruling will necessitate the reopening of CHLB, after it passes inspection by the California Department of Public Health,” he said.

Matthew Faulkner, executive director of the Community Hospital Long Beach Foundation, is pictured Tuesday, June 11, at the Parkers’ Lighthouse restaurant informing residents about Community Hospital’s seismic-compliance deadline extension to 2025.

Faulkner also emphasized the need to have an emergency facility on the east side of Long Beach.

“You have to have that there in a life-saving situation,” he said. “[…] We saw 30,000 patients at Community’s emergency department annually. 7,000 of those patients were behavioral health, and 4,000 of those behavioral-health patients were admitted. So, one begins to ask the question: What is happening to those people now that the hospital is closed?”

CHLB has been closed since July 2018. Faulkner said that Community handled 25 percent of the city’s paramedic runs.

“It, therefore, provided an important role in the region for emergency care,” he said. “[…] Without us in play now, the wait times in area emergency rooms have gone up. […] There is some overcrowding in emergency rooms. […] We’re not trying to replace the other hospitals– they’re great hospitals, they do great service– it’s a matter of proximity of where we all live. And the east side of Long Beach has about 300,000 residents.”

Faulkner concluded by saying that the agreement with the City and MWN is being finalized, and the agenda will be presented at a future Long Beach City Council meeting, likely in July.

For more information, visit chlbfoundation.org for updates on the reopening of CHLB.