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Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Herald Editorial
Long Beach needs LBMC’s acute care services
Herald file photo

The continuing squabble between the financially strapped Long Beach Medical Center and the New York State Department of Health comes at the expense of the safety of barrier island residents.

LBMC has been closed since Hurricane Sandy caused $56 million in damage, and is facing pressure from the Health Department to shutter its acute care services — which would mean no emergency room on the barrier island — and merge with South Nassau Communities Hospital.

All the necessary repairs have been made to allow two wings, including the emergency department, to reopen. But the Health Department says that LBMC is mismanaged and losing millions of dollars per year. Unless it submits a “viable financial plan,” state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah said, he will not allow the facility to reopen.

We think this myopic view is putting lives at risk, and we urge Governor Cuomo, Sen. Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg to intervene and find a solution to save the hospital.

If you live in Long Beach, closing LBMC represents a direct threat to your health and safety as well as to every other resident of the barrier island. It is critical that Cuomo, Skelos, Weisenberg and Shah hear from you loudly and clearly. Let them know how important having a hospital in Long Beach is to you.

Already, city officials say that the facility’s closure has strained Fire Department resources: a Long Beach ambulance transporting a patient to Nassau University Medical Center, SNCH or another area facility may not return for 90 minutes or more. And transferring a patient to another hospital may mean a delay of life-saving care.

With only three means of access on or off the barrier island, mechanical problems with bridges can cause lengthy delays. In addition, the community’s population increases from 38,000 to more than 50,000 in the summer months, and with the peak season in full swing, the demand for emergency services increases dramatically. Recently, lifeguards pulled at least 20 distressed swimmers from the water.

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lblifer13

As a Long Beach resident and hospital employee I agree we need our hospital. But we also need to throw out all the crooks/liars in charge who have done nothing to help get the hospital out of the financial mess it's been in for years. They asked employees to got without a raise for years while they gave up nothing. I wonder what the state would find if they checked to see what the hospital has done with all the grant money it's gotten. The hospital has been going through this crisis and they put up a page on facebook to keep employees informed. Bottom line is the info we get is from the news first. We little people have been listening to lies for the last 8 1/2 months and even before Sandy. In the middle of all of this our CEO enjoyed a nice vacation in Europe a few weeks ago. His employees have no idea where their futures are going. Some are still out of their homes believing for months that we'll be back only to find out after hanging in there all this time that this may not be the case. I know myself that if I'd known 4 months ago what was going on I'd have done things totally differently. But I listened to liars who told me I'd be back to work and then they replaced me with someone else who has a bigger salary. No surprise there. They wouldn't know "cost effective" if it hit them in the face. We need our hospital. But we also need people who care about the people of Long Beach and not their pensions as they walk out the door into retirement. The hospital has great workers who have done nothing but support the people in charge. Unfortunately money is the root of all evil and the people in charge didn't care a bit about their loyal employees. Open the hospital and put people in charge who want to see a future there - not people who are walking off into the sunset with hospital funding. I pray to God that this doesn't take a death for people to realize how important it is to have our facility opened.

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