LBMC officials acknowledge the facility’s dire financial situation — it is ranked ninth on the state’s list of the 42 most financially distressed hospitals — and say that they are taking steps to reduce costs and downsize services in order to keep its acute care services operating. We hope such steps are not too little, too late.
We agree with a Long Island Regional Advisory Committee finding, released in 2006, that with a large number of long-term care facilities and adult homes on the barrier island, and given its geographic isolation, dependence on drawbridges and recreational waterfront parks, there is a need to maintain ready access to acute and emergency services here.
The committee also said, however, that the successful transformation of LBMC into a critical-access hospital depends on the development of a relationship with one or more neighboring hospitals.
For years, there have been recommendations that LBMC reduce its size. In 2006, the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities suggested that it downsize to approximately 145 beds and reconfigure itself as a smaller facility focused on emergency and ambulatory care services.
Hospital officials now seem to be leaning toward such recommendations in order to save acute care services. If merging with another hospital — which LBMC’s board of trustees is not averse to — means maintaining emergency services in Long Beach, so be it. Otherwise, lives will continue to be put at risk.
Contact your state officials:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Sen. Dean Skelos
(516) 766-8383 or (518) 455-3171
Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg
(516) 431-0500 (518) 455-3028
State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav R. Shah