No answers from LBMC
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Kemins said that city officials are not necessarily advocating for LBMC, as it was known, but rather a 24-hour facility that could best serve the city.
“We have a vested interest in having a 911-receiving hospital,” he said. “Who runs it, we don’t have a say in that matter. Our fight is to have a facility here that our ambulances can bring our residents to in order to get them proper medical care. What name is on the building, the city has no interest in. We need a proper facility approved by the state of New York.”
Ray Ellmer — a hospital board trustee who did not speak on behalf of LBMC — said that the proposed urgent-care center — which would not be open 24 hours or accept 911-ambulances — is part of a larger trend in which smaller, financially distressed hospitals across the state are being replaced with what he described as a “glamorized doctor’s office.” He said that the state used Sandy as an excuse to block the facility from reopening without the benefit of a public hearing.
“Were we financially in trouble? Absolutely. But we never turned patients away, and treated them to the best of our ability,” he said. “…We knew we were in financial trouble and we never wanted it to close. But this idea of the hospital closing is not unique to Long Beach — it’s happening throughout the state. The fact that our state representatives are not here is evidence that New York state is behind this. This is our hospital and it’s the will of the people to get a new hospital here.”