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Suozzi joins in opposing Glen Cove Hospital conversion

Tom Suozzi, a Democrat running for Nassau County

Tom Suozzi, a Democrat running for Nassau County Executive, speaks to Newsday at the paper's offices. (Aug. 13, 2013) Credit: Chuck Fadely

Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Thomas Suozzi joined other public officials Monday in opposing plans to convert Glen Cove Hospital into an ambulatory center.

Suozzi, who was Glen Cove mayor for eight years before serving as county executive from 2002 to 2009, said in a statement he was joining the city's current mayor, Ralph Suozzi -- who is his cousin -- in asking the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System to reconsider its plans for the 265-bed Glen Cove Hospital.

North Shore-LIJ officials announced on July 29 that they planned to move several inpatient programs from Glen Cove, including the traumatic brain unit, physical rehabilitation program and orthopedic surgery offerings.

"I felt the need to join with the mayor and protest because the hospital provides safety, expertise, peace of mind and beneficial economic impact to this community, and we simply can't afford to lose it," Thomas Suozzi said. "We are willing to work with the hospital to find a compromise that makes sense for all sides."

Adam Haber, an East Hills businessman running against Suozzi in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary said he supported Glen Cove residents in "speaking out about their concerns," but also said the hospital has "tough financial calls to make."

"As Glen Cove considers alterations to their hospital, we also need to address the lack of a hospital in Long Beach," Haber said. "It is critical that we make sure all families in Nassau have the health services they need."

Brian Nevin, spokesman for Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, said Mangano met with North Shore-LIJ president Michael Dowling Monday "to express his concern over the future of Glen Cove Hospital and stated his belief that maintaining the current quality of care is critical for the citizens of Nassau County."

Last week, Ralph Suozzi and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) met with Dowling to discuss the hospital's future, and more than 11,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the hospital to delay or reconsider its plans.

North Shore-LIJ Spokesman Terry Lynum said the hospital would not comment on Suozzi's statement, but added "we're already working with elected officials and other community leaders to get their input."

Monday evening, Suozzi and roughly 200 supporters opened his new campaign offices on Clinton Street in Hempstead. The event also served as the launch of African Americans for Suozzi, which includes members of the central Nassau African-American community.

Suozzi also received the endorsement Monday of the influential New Hempstead Democratic Club.

"We can make this the best county in the world," Suozzi said. "There is nothing stopping us other than the leadership we are lacking."

On Saturday, Haber was endorsed by The Corridor Counts, a new group led by Hempstead civil rights attorney Frederick Brewington, which represents residents in Lakeview, Hempstead, Roosevelt, Uniondale, Freeport and New Cassel.

With Robert Brodsky

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