LBMC to declare bankruptcy?

But hospital says business plan for possible merger with SNCH is not finalized


State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg says that the Long Beach Medical Center will file for bankruptcy as part of a plan to eliminate its debt, as merger talks with South Nassau Communities Hospital continue. But hospital officials say that such talk is premature, and that a business plan has yet to be finalized.

According to Weisenberg, the move to file is one of a number of recommendations made by the state to enable LBMC to merge with SNCH. The newly created entity would have access to Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for a new integrated health delivery system. Weisenberg said he has been lobbying the state to reopen the Long Beach facility.

“South Nassau is coming in, and they don’t want to absorb [LBMC’s] existing debt,” he said. “[LBMC has] no choice — Long Beach Medical is going through a bankruptcy proceeding, while South Nassau and the state Health Department work together to establish an urgent-care center for the people of Long Beach.”

Ray Ellmer, a longtime Long Beach resident who sits on the medical center’s Board of Trustees, also said that it would file for bankruptcy. “Long Beach is definitely declaring bankruptcy, and it will get rid of some debt,” Ellmer said.

In a statement, hospital spokeswoman Sharon Player said that a memorandum of understanding that LBMC signed with South Nassau includes a nondisclosure agreement, which prevents the discussion of details of the negotiations. Player also said that Ellmer was not speaking on behalf of LBMC.

  “While negotiations continue with South Nassau Communities Hospital,” she said, “no decisions have been made as to the future business plans of Long Beach Medical Center.”

One city official, who declined to be identified, said that LBMC had yet to file for bankruptcy. “My guess is that it’s seriously being considered,” the official said.

The 162-bed hospital closed after 10 feet of water flooded its basement during Hurricane Sandy, causing roughly $100 million in damage. All of the major work to allow two wings to open, including the emergency department, was completed in June.

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