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Saturday, August 30, 2014
Opinion — Guest Column
Hospital needs new wings
South Nassau should invest in more than a clinic and emergency department at LBM
By Ray Ellmer
Herald file photo

In 1921, Senator William Reynolds and his friend, Dr. George Reiss, understood the need for medical services on the Long Beach barrier island. So, in 1922, they formed a first-aid station in a beach-side tent. Shortly thereafter, a six-room bungalow on East Harrison Street served as the hospital, which eventually became the facility that sits there today, albeit vacant and shuttered.

Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2012. Between 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Long Beach was essentially engulfed by the Atlantic Ocean. At 8 a.m. the morning after the storm, volunteers and the engineering staff at the Long Beach Medical Center were evaluating the damage and taking steps to remove the 10 feet of sewage-tinged floodwater from the basement and first floor of LBMC. Last June, all of the repairs to the emergency department were completed and was ready to be reopened — and it still is.

Approximately three months after Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency told LBMC representatives that if the costs to repair the facility exceeded the costs to completely replace it, LBMC would be reimbursed with funding for a new hospital.

LBMC submitted a comprehensive plan to reopen the facility in June to the New York State Department of Health, which reduced the number of hospital beds from of 162 to 80, and would address specific medical needs for the barrier island. The plan was presented so that the financially-strapped LBMC would not lose money each year. However, that plan was rejected by the Health Department, which recommended that LBMC declare bankruptcy and be taken over by another hospital group.

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