Two years after Hurricane Sandy shuttered the Long Beach Medical Center, hundreds of people gathered at Kennedy Plaza last Sunday to call on South Nassau Communities Hospital to use nearly $180 million in federal funding to establish emergency medical and health care services in the city.
Wednesday marked 730 days that the barrier island has been without a hospital, and for more than a year, the Beach to Bay Central Council of Civic Associations — which organized last weekend’s event — has been advocating for nothing short of a full-service hospital.
“Since Sandy, millions of State and FEMA dollars have been used in one way or another to address this issue,” said Barbara Bernardino, a co-founder of the group, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “But what do we really have? A renovated emergency room at the old site that never opened, and an urgent-care [center] which is grossly inadequate for our needs. What a waste of our money!”
The rally was held just two weeks after South Nassau finalized its acquisition of LBMC for $11.8 million — and reached an agreement with FEMA on $176.9 million in Hurricane Sandy aid to SNCH to redevelop health care services in Long Beach and the surrounding communities.
South Nassau Chief Executive Officer Richard Murphy told the Herald that it was too early to say how much of the FEMA money would be invested in Long Beach, but he stressed that SNCH’s investment would be significant.
Its plans call for the establishment of a 911-receiving emergency department with ambulance services, which would operate around the clock. It might also include 20 to 30 beds for short-term care to stabilize patients in need of further care before they were transferred to South Nassau or a hospital of their choice.