Bernardino said that while SNCH officials had initially committed to attend the meeting, they cancelled shortly before. Representatives from LBMC declined to attend, she said, citing a non-disclosure agreement with South Nassau that prevents any discussion of the details of negotiations. Representatives from Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg’s and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’s offices were also invited, but could not attend. Bernardino said that residents’ questions and concerns would be included in a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state representatives.
Residents and employees criticized officials for not attending and blasted both the hospital’s leadership and Shah for what they described as a “bureaucratic squabble” that has come at the expense of residents’ safety.
“Why is the administration of this hospital, who is responsible for the mismanagement, still there?” asked one resident. “The administrators who drove this hospital into the ground are still being paid.”
“I am really insulted by the absence of representatives from the state,” said one LBMC doctor.
Long Beach Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins said that City Council President Scott Mandel and other city officials have been calling on Shah to restore an emergency department that accepts 911-receiving ambulances. Kemins was on hand to field questions, inform residents about current emergency services and dispel rumors [see story, http://bit.ly/1fnMOv9
Kemins said that as a representative of the city, he has been involved in some meetings with the state and the two hospitals as they work toward a resolution, though he explained that the city has no control over the hospital’s fate.
“Long Beach hospital is a private corporation — the only one that has control over them is the state,” he said. “The city is pushing for a 911-receiving emergency room. We’re hoping that what they’re calling an urgent care center on steroids opens in the very near future. From our understanding, their goal is to move toward a 911-receiving emergency room once the urgent care center is up and running, and the state is satisfied that it’s running properly. When that’s going to happen, I can’t speak for the state Health Department.”