October 10, 2013 | 814 views
Urgent care center to open at LBMC
SNCH awarded $6.6M grant to provide limited services in Long Beach
South Nassau Communities Hospital announced last week that it was awarded a $6.6 million state grant that will be used to open an urgent care facility at Long Beach Medical Center.
LBMC has been closed since Hurricane Sandy, and SNCH spokesman Damian Becker said that the center will provide some of the medical services that have been missing on the barrier island for the past 11 months.
The facility, to be run by South Nassau, will not include a 911-receiving emergency department, so ambulances will still have go elsewhere — and risk delays on bridges — in emergency situations, a main source of frustration among city officials and residents.
“This is a good step in the right direction for the residents of Long Beach, to give them more convenient access to the health care services they need,” Becker said. “Is it the absolute answer for them? I would say no, but it’s better than the present situation.”
The 162-bed hospital closed after 10 feet of water flooded its basement during Sandy, causing $56 million in damage. All of the major work to allow two wings to open, including the emergency department, was completed in June.
But the state Department of Health blocked the facility from reopening, after Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah said that LBMC, which had lost more than $2 million per year since 2008, had failed to produce a sustainable health care business plan that would meet the needs of the Long Beach community. The state called on the hospital to close its acute care service and merge with SNCH, saying that it should function as a freestanding emergency department with urgent care and primary care services.
State grant funding for the urgent care center is part of a separate effort to restore services in Long Beach, Becker explained, adding that negotiations among LBMC, the state Health Department and South Nassau are continuing — and still include the possibility of a merger.