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Department of Health Avoids Lawsuit Over Public Community Forum

Long Beach's Beach to Bay Central Council of Civic Associations threatened to file a lawsuit to compel the DOH to hold a public community forum regarding the closing of Long Beach Medical Center.

A lawsuit between the Department of Health and Long Beach’s Beach to Bay Central Council of Civic Associations was narrowly avoided last month.

According to state law, the Department of Health is required to convene a public community forum within a month of their closing of a hospital. Last July, when the Long Beach Medical Center was closed, no forum was held.

The Council’s attorney, Francis McQuade, asserted that the group would reserve the right to compel the DOH to hold the forum if their request was not granted in a timely fashion. The DOH responded that South Nassau Communities Hospital, which bought the Long Beach Medical Center complex, is scheduled to close its purchase on June 30, signaling that the closing of the medical center is not yet official. 

“Subsequently, once the operator surrenders its operating certificate, DOH will hold a public community forum,” wrote Deputy Director of the Department of Health, Robert Welch, in a letter to McQuade.

“We are delighted with the Department of Health’s answer and commend them for their concern and responsiveness,” McQuade later said in a press release. “Their agreeing to hold a public community forum, as required by law, will be important for the community’s voicing their concerns about medical care…it also will allow them to question the circumstances that led to the unraveling and closing of the Long Beach Medical Center.”

In the release, McQuade reinforced the notion that the Council would have otherwise moved forward with litigating an Article 78 suit to compel state compliance. “It’s always better when the state is alert to the public’s rights and needs, rather than fighting it out in court,” he wrote.

Tired of Excuses June 11, 2014 at 01:06 PM
LBMC would be a good site for residential condos with docks or (if several surrounding homes were condemned /razed for parking) a bay side casino.......
BSM June 11, 2014 at 02:10 PM
Hmmm, or a hospital!
Tired of Excuses June 11, 2014 at 03:00 PM
LBMC didn't have enough patients......which means hospital scale of operations for routine, scheduled treatment/surgery could not financially support operational overhead......best that can be hoped for is 24/7 trauma with transfer if/when stabilized......LBMC at its end offered more psych counseling, drug treatment, etc than traditional hospital service, but still couldn't generate sufficient revenue. Bottom line is that LB population cannot support regular hospital operation when alternatives are so close.
Bob West June 12, 2014 at 09:40 AM
A DOH Plan a couple of years ago suggested it would be viable with 60 inpatient beds. You're right about those few units being the only ones full the past couple of years. But considering the number of "seniors" and other high-risk groups in the area, I think LBMC could have flourished- especially if it got that $200 million awarded by FEMA. That money now goes to SNCH who was barely impacted by Sandy at all, and it's probably 10 times what it will cost to build an ER here. LBMC was ruined by mismanagement, and CEO Meltzer should have gone to jail- but that's not the Long Beach way. PT/Rehab at LBMC was a beautiful, well-run department, with great machines that sat unused all evening. (Coincidence- Orthopedics is a big money-maker at SNCH.) LBMC had recently added a couple of specialty areas that could have been valuable but got no administrative support- including a hyperbaric/wound healing unit and a new dialysis unit.
Bob West June 12, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Many local Doctors also depended on the support services and Diagnostics the hospital provided. My local Oncologist often had to rush Chemo patients to the ER for transfusions when their blood levels were found to be dangerously low. (And it was close enough that he could visit them quickly.) My GI guy did Colonoscopies there that saved my life- twice. "Everyone" hated their drug treatment programs, but now we see those without treatment going back to the "criminal ways" of the 60's. Junkies are not going to move up to East Meadow for treatment at NUMC when heroin is (supposedly) so easily available here. @ Tired, I know you care about our area and what you write is reasonable. But with that $200 million+ infusion LBMC certainly could have been viable for at least another decade or so. And by then this town will probably be so choked with traffic that rushing to South Nassau will not be a practical alternative.

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