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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Hospital Closes; Effort to Reopen It Is Underway

September 30, 2000

LONG BEACH — Catholic Healthcare West closed financially ailing Long Beach Community Medical Center on Friday, putting about 760 people out of work--but perhaps just temporarily.

A group made up mostly of doctors, called Save Our Hospital, is trying to raise enough money to reopen the 76-year-old hospital, possibly by mid-November.

Patients were moved out of the hospital Thursday.

Joyce Hawthorne of Catholic Healthcare West said the decision to close the hospital was financial. The parent company announced the closing in June, and the firm reached an agreement with Long Beach officials that the city would try to find a new operator. It takes possession of the property at 1720 Termino Ave. on Oct. 31.

Although two hospitals--Long Beach Memorial and the Catholic Healthcare West-owned St. Mary's--remain open in downtown Long Beach, those opposed to the closing, including county Supervisor Don Knabe, said the east side of the city would be underserved without Community Medical Center.

City officials are weighing five bids and are expected to announce in mid-October when the hospital might be expected to reopen. It was unknown how many staff members would be rehired if the city finds a new operator.

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