This was not a part of the merger negotiations between hospitals, but rather was intended to provide medical services to the community in the interim. But three months after the grant was awarded, the state health department has still not given SNCH the green light to begin running the facility.
In the letter, the council stressed the fact that Long Beach’s geography makes it a dangerous place to not have a hospital. With only three ways off the island, ambulances have to travel much further to transport patients to the hospital. Officials fear that this will delay potentially life-saving healthcare.
The letter to Shah was sent on the same day that the Long Beach Fire Department handled nearly 20 ambulance calls within a span of two hours, all related to the icy conditions last week. Most of the calls involved pedestrians who were transported to South Nassau Communities Hospital after they sustained injuries when they slipped on their steps or on sidewalks.
And at a public forum last month, Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins described an incident where the Long Beach Bridge became icy and had to be shut down. He called it an example of why any medical facility that replaces LBMC must be ambulance receiving.
State representatives have also entered the fray, saying that the community is in need of an adequate health care facility.
“Residents of Long Beach and the barrier island deserve a functioning health care facility that provides appropriate services to those in need,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). “I remain committed to bringing all parties together to ensure that an urgent care facility, including a 911-receiving emergency department, is opened and residents of Long Beach receive the quality health care that they deserve.”
Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) and other officials claim that LBMC intends to file for bankruptcy as part of a plan to eliminate its debt, as merger talks with South Nassau continue.