(January 6, 2021, 7:15 a.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that the CA Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) license allowing Community Hospital of Long Beach to partially reopen (Jan 4 with roughly a third of its capacity and limited services) indicates it runs for roughly four months, starting Jan. 4, 2021 and expiring April 28, 2021. The reason for the April 28 expiration date isn't immediately clear from the face of the licnese or what steps are necessary to extend it (as the hospital presumably plans to do.)
The license indicates multiple hospital services (normally provided by acute care hospitals) are "suspended" (not presently allowed) for a full year, until Jan.3. 2022 although hospital media releases have indicated it plans to begin offering them later this year (2021.).
CDPH has told LBREPORT.com it may require the hospital's licensee/operator, MWN Community Hospital LLC, to undergo additional inspections to provide additional services under the license.
CDPH has licensed the hospital to provide 11 ICU beds and 40 other beds for non-COVID-19 patients transferred on a physician's order from other facilities..CDPH's license curremntly specifies:
This LICENSE is not transferable and is granted solely upon the following conditions, limitations and comments:
In releasing a copy of the license to LBREPORT.com, the CA Dept. of Public Health CDPH Office of Public Affairs stated in an email: "Please note the terms and conditions outlined on the license, including the number of authorized beds effective January 4, 2021. If the facility wishes to add additional beds, they must file a Change of Service application which may trigger an additional field visit to determine the readiness to serve additional patients or provide additional services." .
Despite New Year's Eve information Tweeted by Mayor Robert Garcia and contained in a release by the City of Long Beach, the hospital's "reopening" was more accurately a partial reopening, offering only about a third of the hospital's 158 bed capacity (11 ICU beds + 40 other beds for non-COVID patients transferred from other area facilities, with no ER and no walk in for the public normally provided by acute care hospitals.)
The CDPH license issued Jan. 4, 2021 doesn't permit the hospital services listed below...and neither CDPH, licensee/operator MWN nor Long Beach city officials have explained exactly why not. Prior to COVID-19, Community Hospital's lessee/operator had presumably been preparing to reopen more fully. Items currently not offered to the public or permitted under its current partial reopening include:
LBREPORT.com pressed to see an actual copy of Community Hospital's license; CDPH's Public Affairs Office provided it at early evening Jan. 5, 2021.
LBREPORT.com also filed a Public Records Act request in early April 2020 (with documents periodically received but not yet fully provided) after the LLC/Pacific6 issued releases in mid-March making claims about the hospital's readiness to reopen that proved untrue (as the hospital didn't reopen in March.) Documents received under the Public Records Act request show three state legislators -- state Senators Lena Gonzalez, Tom Umberg and Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell -- repeated the LLC's readiness claims in a March 18, 2020 jointly signed letter asking Governor Newsom to allocate a share of SB 89 COVID-related funds to MWN. (It's currently unclear if the Governor or his administration did so.)
A few weeks later on April 14, MWN received City Council voted approval (9-0) to use $250,000 in city taxpayer resources for elevator and possibly other repairs to be performed by city crews. The Council action included no guarantee of reimbursement to taxpayers for the advanced sum although the repair items were among those the LLC was supposed to perform under its Oct. 2019 lease with the City. [In LBREPORT.com's view, the Council action was a gift of public money (not necessarily illegal, a separate legal question.)]
Responding to an inquiry from LBREPORT.com, Brandon Dowling, Pacific6 Communications Director said in a Dec 23 email: "The $250,000 in elevator repairs were paid by the City of Long Beach and invoiced to the City of Long Beach. No money was ever 'given’ to MWN and we were never invoiced for the services."
From April-December 2020, MWN, its participant/partner Pacific6 and CDPH declined to tell the public exactly what issues remained to be addressed before giving MWN a license to operate. In December LBREPORT.com became aware that MWN has a "punch list" of items it needed to complete. but MWN didn't say what those items were. LBREPORT.com asked Pacific6 to tell us what the punch-list items were, but a vacation-period spokesperson for regular Pacific6 spokesman Dowling didn't respond to our inquiry, and a Mr. Dowling hasn't provided the information on his return.
As of dawn Jan. 6, it remains unclear exactly what items remain to be addressed that currently prevent Community Hospital from fully reopening and operating as a 158 bed acute care hospital. [LBREPORT.com presumes MWN, Pacific6, Mayor Garcia and/or City Hall officialdom knew what those items were when the City headlined its release that Community Hospital had "reopened," which wasn't accurate since it has only partially reopened without an ER and walk-ins acute care hospitals normally provide.
In October 2019, the LB Council approved entering a lease with MWN that requires LB taxpayers to pay roughly $1 million-$2 million each year (totaling $25 million over 15 years) for seismic repairs AND cover suns advanced by MWN toward the hospital if for any reason MWN chooses to no longer operate the hospital as an acute care facility. At that point, the City would be required to reimburse MWN for its expended sums to date, an outcome that city staff warned Councilmembers (in the item's Oct. 2019 agendizing memo) was so costly that it could result in the City losing Community Hospital (with MWN given the ability to buy the facility.) .
The City release announcing the hospital's Jan. 4, 2021 "reopening" says that "over the past 18 months, more than $6 million has been put toward the reopening of the hospital including deferred maintenance, replacement of equipment, supplies, utility systems and refurbishments to both the exterior façade and interior rooms."
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