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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Administrator Hired as Effort to Reopen Hospital Continues

November 18, 2000

LONG BEACH — The nonprofit corporation attempting to rescue Long Beach Community Medical Center made progress this week toward reopening the hospital.

Community Hospital of Long Beach, a nonprofit coalition of local doctors and residents, hired veteran health care administrator Mak Nakayama on Monday as chief executive. On the same day, the group received a $2-million donation from the Pacific Hospital Charitable Foundation. The money is to be used as leverage for a $20-million financing package.

And on Thursday, community board members said the facility's previous owner, Catholic Healthcare West, will relinquish all equipment remaining in the hospital free of charge. Catholic Healthcare had been holding out for millions in compensation for the equipment.

Citing years of heavy operating losses, Catholic Healthcare closed the hospital on Sept. 29 and turned the property over to the city. But the nonprofit corporation, led by citizens who fought the closing, submitted a bid to the city manager to reopen the facility.

That bid calls for creating a smaller hospital with fewer than 75 beds. Doctors say the hospital could reopen about Jan. 1.

Several challenges remain. Chief among them are removing the hospital's license from suspension and securing a new license to operate a pharmacy on site, said the nonprofit group's chairwoman, Betty Keller.

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