Mount Sinai South Nassau officials expect to start construction by the end of this month on a new Long Beach outpatient medical center near the site of the former Long Beach Medical Center.
Hospital officials broke ground last week commencing the end of an eight-year struggle to bring medical services back to the barrier island after the former hospital was shuttered by superstorm Sandy and never reopened. Construction is expected to take 18 months.
Hospital officials are prepared to start construction on the $40 million Long Beach Medical Arts Pavilion at 440 E. Bay Drive to offer primary care, women and children’s health, cardiology, X-rays and ultrasound imaging. The new facility will also include gastrointestinal specialists and pain management experts.
South Nassau purchased the hospital out of bankruptcy after most of the hospital was flooded and destroyed during the 2012 storm. Three of the buildings from the original hospital were demolished, and the two remaining buildings are in need of serious repair, officials said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a plan four years ago to split $154 million allocated for the hospital between the Long Beach facility and using $109 million in remaining disaster funds for South Nassau’s main hospital in Oceanside. The two projects are part of a $400 million master plan during the next five years, officials said
Hospital officials said it would not be sustainable to return a hospital to Long Beach.
South Nassau also opened a stand-alone emergency room next to the site in 2015 to receive 911 calls and ambulances and transferred any patients requiring longer care to Oceanside.
"There was a lot of talk about, should we have built a hospital? Perhaps COVID proved the exception, but it’s really hard to run a hospital today with economics," South Nassau chief executive Richard Murphy said. "The place where care needs to be provided is in the community on an ambulatory basis and that’s what we’ve tried to design."
Hospital officials plan to build an elevated one-story 15,000-square-foot medical office building, including 18 examination rooms and two procedure rooms. Hospital officials said evolving medical care is focused on reducing long-term hospital stays and new technology to treat patients on-site and sending them home.
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) said she has been working on obtaining federal grants to make medical services available in the city without rebuilding the hospital.
"This is the perfect answer for what Long Beach needs, when we consider how we are going to deliver what is the most efficient and effective way to deliver health care now," Rice said. "It’s to bring health care back to the community. Long Beach residents have been advocating for a full-blown hospital on the barrier island, but by calling for that, they should be proud they have a great alternative here with team form Mount Sinai South Nassau."
Nassau County Legis. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) said she had fought for a hospital and participated in a "die-in" in January 2014, where protesters laid on the ground calling for a new hospital.
Ford said she later met with the state Department of Health and realized a new hospital wasn’t possible. She said the medical building will also replace some of the 1,000 jobs lost when the hospital closed.
"I’m absolutely thrilled with some of the services coming back to the barrier island," Ford said. "My dream is this is going to be the start of something great and something better and something the residents in Long Beach and the barrier island deserve and should have."
Long Beach Medical Arts Pavilion
Cost: $40 million
Construction: 18 months
Services: Primary care, women and children’s health, cardiology, X-rays and ultrasounds, gastrointestinal specialists and pain management.