Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi, Rep. Steve Israel and Michael Dowling, the chief executive of North Shore-LIJ Health System, are to meet in several weeks to discuss the health system's plan to eliminate Glen Cove Hospital's inpatient beds and turn it into an ambulatory care facility.
"I want them to change their plan and address the concerns of the community," Suozzi said Friday after a phone conversation with North Shore-LIJ officials and Israel (D-Huntington).
The mayor said he has heard concerns from residents, doctors and employees that the change will mean there won't be the same level of care. "They need to explain what's going on and how to mitigate these concerns," Suozzi said.
On Monday, the health system said it planned to remove its inpatient beds beginning next year. Jobs would be found within the system for the hospital's 1,200 employees, some of whom would still work at Glen Cove, said spokesman Terry Lynam.
He said the decision to get rid of the inpatient beds comes because of declining patient volumes. Although the hospital is certified for 265 beds, the daily average number of patients has been 90, Lynam said.
"To accommodate the changing health care landscape, we have to transform our hospitals," Dowling said. " . . . we will work with our community advisory board and local elected leaders, including Congressman Israel and Mayor Suozzi, to get constructive input."
Suozzi said he strongly felt "some of the changes that are being contemplated must be reconsidered. . . . Health care is about people first."
Israel said it was "crucial that, as changes are made to Glen Cove Hospital, North Shore-LIJ incorporates valuable community feedback into its decision-making process."
The health system said the expanded ambulatory care facility would include a 24-hour emergency room, ambulatory surgery, an outpatient cancer treatment center, medical offices, and a community health and outreach center.
Some programs, such as orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation, brain injury rehabilitation, and psychiatry, will be moved to other facilities -- along with their employees.
Lynam said those who already work in the emergency department and family practice center would continue to work there. Some employees, he said, would be transferred to Glen Cove because its ambulatory care practice would be expanded.
Jobs would be found for the remaining workers at one of the health system's 10 facilities on Long Island, Lynam said.