South Nassau Communities Hospital will construct a medical pavilion with an emergency department on the former Long Beach Medical Center campus, using Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, though the facility will not operate as a full-service hospital, which many residents have called for.
South Nassau announced this week that it was moving forward with its plan to build the 25,000-square-foot Medical Arts Pavilion at a cost of $40 million, following an independent study that concluded that a full-service hospital on the barrier island would not be sustainable, and would lose money every year.
The study was conducted by Bruce Vladeck, who, during the Clinton administration, headed the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration — now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Vladeck concluded that there is a “significant shortage of physicians, ancillary services and specialty geriatric and behavioral health services” on the barrier island. He offered a number of recommendations, including expanding emergency medical services in Long Beach so that the new SNCH facility’s emergency department is capable of handling 65 to 75 percent of all ambulance calls on the barrier island; increasing access to primary care physicians; and improving behavioral health services and care for the elderly.
The details of the study will be presented to the public at a meeting on Feb. 29 at Lindell Elementary School at 7:30 p.m.
“Dialogue with the community is a critical part of this process, and needs to occur on a meaningful scale before any final decisions are made — and frankly, before any needs-assessment is finalized,” said State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, who will host the forum with County Legislator Denise Ford and Long Beach City Council members. “Members of the barrier island community have a strong sense of what medical services they lack, and should help inform any decision that South Nassau makes as to how to allocate public resources.”