LONG BEACH - Residents are calling on the state to reopen the Sandy-damaged Long Beach Medical Center.

Repairs have been made to Long Beach's only hospital, but the state Health Department won't approve its reopening. It wants the hospital to merge with another facility and come up with a better financial plan.

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The hospital will stay closed until the state and Long Beach Medical Center's Board of Trustees come to an agreement.

South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside is currently the closest hospital for people living in Long Beach. Since Long Beach is a barrier island, getting off of it can be a serious problem.

Residents have collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition and want the state to reopen the hospital and emergency room immediately.

The hospital says it has already submitted several plans to the state Health Department, which have been rejected.

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg is now trying to get the state and the hospital together to hammer out a plan as soon as possible.