LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Staff from Long Beach Medical Center will meet with New York state health officials on Friday in an effort to broker a truce in the fight over the hospital’s future.
The hospital has been closed since suffering damage in Hurricane Sandy, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported.
Now Long Beach Medical Center is repaired and is ready for business, but state health officials are refusing to allow it to reopen until it comes up with a better financial plan or merges with another medical center.
Many people living on the barrier island desperately want the hospital to reopen.
Resident Betty Barto is on oxygen — and the nearest hospital is now about 40 minutes away in traffic.
“Long Beach hospital saved my life last year,” said Barto. “Why should they gamble with our lives? It’s us who are living here that are at risk.”
The state health department insists Long Beach Medical Center has been bleeding cash for years due to lower admissions and Medicaid reimbursements.
But former ER nurse Daniella Lem thinks Hurricane Sandy is the excuse for closing it.
“Why did they give out grants to try and improve the hospital, and then after the storm take everything way? I don’t get that,” she said.
Meanwhile, Long Beach is taking some steps forward in Sandy recovery. On Friday, a section of the city’s new and improved boardwalk will reopen to the public on Saturday.
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