The company that owns Los Altos Hospital, serving one of Long Beach's more affluent neighborhoods, is studying the possibility of converting the 97-bed general care facility into a psychiatric hospital.
Spokeswoman Madeleine Bickert said that Los Angeles-based National Medical Enterprises Inc. is conducting "an evaluation" but cautioned that no decision has been made. That may come within 90 days, she said.
The firm owns or operates 14 hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties, including Dominguez Medical Center in Long Beach and Doctors Hospital of Lakewood in the highly competitive Long Beach health-care market. As it is, Bickert said, Los Altos--on Los Coyotes Diagonal--must compete with 18 other acute-care hospitals in the area.