L.A. hospital closes amid falling revenue, earthquake-retrofit tab

L.A. hospital facing massive earthquake-safety repairs shuts down

Temple Community Hospital of Los Angeles has closed its doors after more than 70 years in business, citing low revenue and increasing costs of maintaining its aging building.

The independently operated hospital, about three miles northwest of downtown, closed Sept. 9. It had been in business since 1937 and employed more than 300 people.

Another factor in the decision was the large pending expense of retrofitting the hospital to meet state earthquake safety requirements, Temple said in a statement. But there were other issues.

“Ultimately, low reimbursement rates, changes in service-delivery models, regulatory requirements, an aging building, and the need for increased capital expenditures made TCH’s operations unsustainable,” the hospital said.

The six-story hospital faced an estimated $50-million expense to meet earthquake safety requirements. It spent years negotiating with the California agency that enforces the state’s hospital seismic safety law for extensions to make the improvements. 

"The seismic upgrading requirements contributed to our analysis of the long-term financial sustainability of the hospital, but was only one of many factors that led to our decision," Mark Apodaca, the hospital's assistant administrator, said in an email to The Times.

A notice taped to Temple’s glass front doors referred patients to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Silver Lake Medical Center and Good Samaritan Hospital.

Temple offered several specialty surgeries, including orthopedic, and a variety of obesity treatments. It did not have an emergency room.

Herbert G. Needman, the hospital’s chief executive, said he has been helping employees find new positions at other area hospitals and clinics.

“In some cases, I personally called hospitals and clinics to help find new positions for our staff or to vouch for their skills and professionalism,” Needman said.

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