LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Steps are being taken at last to replace a hospital in Long Beach, Long Island that was ruined by Superstorm Sandy.

But as CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, it will not be everything Long Beach residents are looking for. The plan calls for a state-of-the-art 24-hour emergency room, but it will be a medical site without beds.

Long Beach Medical Center closed down after it was destroyed by 12-foot floodwaters in Superstorm Sandy.

Afterward, temporary military tents went up to treat city residents. They were replaced with a mobile emergency center, but plans to rebuilt were scuttled when the medical center went bankrupt.

Residents on the barrier island have been complaining all through that time that there is no hospital near their homes, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. Red and white signs reading “Long Beach Must Have a HOSPITAL” can be seen all over.

Enter South Nassau Communities Hospital.

“This is the beginning of a process,” said Richard Murphy, vice president and chief executive officer of the South Nassau hospital. “We’d like to have a dialogue with the community over the next 12 months; really talk about what medical programs are necessary; what can be supported economically.”

But South Nassau, which also recently opened an urgent care center in Long Beach, said financially a full-fledged hospital will not work there.

“Economically, a 120-, 130-bed hospital cannot sustain itself in this economy and this health care delivery system,” Murphy said.

The Oceanside hospital bought the Long Beach property, with the Federal Emergency Management Administration contributing $154 million to redevelop regional health services in the area.

The new pavilion will include a 24-hour 911 emergency department and an array of other new services. If need be, it can also, treat heart attack and stroke victims.

Plans for a medical pavilion in Long Beach, Long Island. (Credit: CBS2)

Plans for a medical pavilion in Long Beach, Long Island. (Credit: CBS2)

The hospital will handle urgent cases, but not acute trauma cases, which will be taken to level one centers in Oceanside, East Meadow, and Mineola.

“They will eventually be transferred, because the robust part of the care, takes place not only in the acute phase, but in the post-acute phase,” said South Nassau Communities Hospital chairman of emergency medicine Dr. Josh Kugler.

Ambulances must transport acute cases off the barrier island, where the population of 38,000 permanent residents doubles in the summer – and so do the medical needs.

Betty Barto suffers respiratory illness, and is concerned.

“On ideal conditions, it takes 20 minutes to get to South Nassau. Now if the bridge is up, God knows hwo long — it depends how long it takes the boat to go through,” Barto said.

A public forum on the medical care plan will be held April 13.

“The City Council is very excited to look over the plans for the new facility, and to dive into needs assessment so that we can restore all the medical and hospital facilities,” said Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman. “Our barrier island needs and to restore jobs as well.”

The plan for the medical site needs approval from the state and other agencies – a wait of eight to 12 months. Construction could then take another two years.

Murphy also said that by 2017, if approved, South Nassau Communities Hospital would like to construct a 30,000-square-foot medical arts pavilion, which would be built using funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


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