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Thursday, October 30, 2014

LBMC needs $30 million fix
(Page 2 of 3)
Penny Frondelli/Herald
The hospital’s lower levels were destroyed by floodwater during Hurricane Sandy.

But Melzer explained that there is currently discussion at the federal level about changing those percentages, so that FEMA would assume 90 percent of the costs, with the state and the hospital each contributing 5 percent. “Hopefully they will move in that direction,” he said. “I’m sure everyone in New York would benefit from that.”

The hospital has started a campaign to raise money to offset operating costs while repairs are being done. All donations to the Help Rebuild our Hospital fund will help speed the restoration process, Player said. Details can be found on the LBMC website.

FEMA, Melzer said, pays for remediation — revisions to the building that will reduce the damage if a storm like Sandy strikes again. The $30 million repair estimate does not include remediation costs, which Melzer estimated could be as high as $10 million. The money that FEMA contributes to mitigation will not affect the percentage of the repair costs the agency covers, Melzer said.

FEMA teams were at the hospital last week and this week, Melzer said, and will continue to review the damage and opportunities for future storm mitigation. “We’re working with [FEMA] as we work towards designing a remediation plan,” he said. Some of the potential changes include the relocation of generators to a higher floor, and enlarging the retaining wall LBMC had in place to prevent flooding.

Although the hospital will remain closed, it has begun restoring some of its services and reopening others in temporary locations. The Komanoff Center, its nursing home facility, which did not sustain as much damage as the hospital, will reopen this month. According to Melzer, 182 residents were evacuated to a handful of facilities across Nassau County. He expects about 150 of them to return when it reopens. The first floor of the Komanoff Center was the only one affected by flooding, so for the time being, the nursing home will be operating on the second floor and up.

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