North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System plans to get rid of inpatient beds at Glen Cove Hospital and turn it into an ambulatory care facility beginning next year.
North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said Monday that every attempt would be made to find jobs within the health system for the hospital's 1,200 employees, who were informed Monday of the plan, which is to take place beginning in January 2014.
"We hire 100 employees a week. We're pretty confident we'll be able to find a home for everybody," he said.
Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi said he planned to meet Tuesday with North Shore-LIJ officials to discuss the move.
"I don't want to get rid of inpatient beds," Suozzi said. "It's a critical asset not only to Glen Cove, but to the North Shore of Long Island -- not only for health services, but for jobs and the overall economics of the area."
Lynam said the ambulatory care facility would be "a very substantive center" that will 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, he said.
He said the decision to close the inpatient beds comes because of declining patient volumes and a change in the way hospitals will be reimbursed under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Suozzi said that he was concerned that nearby medical practices might move. "This is really a very big deal," Suozzi said. "Until I have all the facts, I will reserve final judgment."
Although the hospital is certified for 265 beds, the daily average number of patients has been 90, Lynam said.
Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals will be reimbursed less for each procedure or test -- called fee for service -- and more for managing the health and wellness of individuals.
"It's definitely the way to go," said Kevin Dahill, chief executive of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council. "I think it's very consistent with what we're seeing throughout the country, particularly with large health systems, which are reducing inpatient hospitals in favor of ambulatory centers and rededicating existing facilities."
Currently, Glen Cove doesn't treat trauma cases. Heart or stroke patients would be stabilized at Glen Cove and sent to another facility -- which often happens now, Lynam said, because the hospital doesn't have a cardiac catheterization unit.
Glen Cove has not had a maternity program since 2003 or a pediatrics program for "many years," Lynam said.
The state Department of Health has to approve the decertification of the beds.