A 24/7 free-standing emergency department is slated to open at Long Beach Medical Center later this year, South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside has announced.
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The state's Public Health and Health Planning Council, a policy-making body for public health issues, published recommendations this month on ambulatory care services that will lead to a planned 911 ambulance-receiving emergency department at the bayside medical center that has remained closed since Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The plan is contingent on approval of the recommendations, which must be turned into regulations, after which the emergency department could possibly open by late summer, according to Newsday.
Damian Becker, a spokesman for South Nassau, said:
"Given the new proposed recommendations . . . we will move to develop a free-standing 911-receiving ED backed up by South Nassau Communities Hospital.”
Since June LBMC and South Nassau have been in negotiations, as demanded by the state Department of Health. The talks are centered on the Oceanside hospital possibly acquiring the property, building and equipment of the 162-bed Long Beach medical center, which is expected to declare bankruptcy, and assuming the operating license of the neighboring Komanoff Center for Geriatric & Rehabilitative Medicine.
In October, South Nassau received $6.5 million in federal money to build an urgent-care facility at LBMC that has not yet opened.
While South Nassau hopes to complete the negotiations by February, a bankruptcy court must still approve the purchase agreement, which has an indefinite time frame, and South Nassau plans to open the urgent-care facility in late spring, Newsday reports.
On Saturday morning, about 30 resident held a protest outside LBMC, at 455 E. Bay Dr., in what was called a “die-in,” to call on state and hospital officials to restore a 911-ambulance receiving emergency department, according to the Long Beach Herald. Holding signs, the protestors, including Nassau County Leg. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach), dropped to the ground to “play dead,” to demonstrate that lives are at risk as the medical center stays closed.
One demonstrator, John McNally, said:
“It’s been 14, 15 months since the storm, and being a barrier island, we’re isolated, and we need access to a round-the-clock emergency receiving center. It seemed like a powerful way to help continue to put pressure on the hospital and our elected officials in the state to ensure that this matter gets the attention that it really needs. Residents are frustrated.”
Scott Kemins, the City of Long Beach's Emergency Service Coordinator, previously said that the average time a Long Beach Fire Department ambulance takes to transport a patient from the barrier island to South Nassau in Oceanside is between 12 to 20 minutes, while it takes an average of three to five minutes to transport a patient to LBMC.