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Long Beach's freestanding emergency department OK'd by state, says Assemb. Kaminsky

The South Nassau Urgent Care Center at Long

The South Nassau Urgent Care Center at Long Beach was slated to open with a newly renovated $8 million emergency department on July 1, 2015, but was stalled pending federal and state approvals. The building is shown here on June 30, 2015. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The freestanding emergency department at Long Beach has been given the final go-ahead by the state.

The state Department of Health confirmed Tuesday night that it had approved the plan.

"Today I am proud to announce that barrier island residents will now have the emergency care they both deserve and need," Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, which needs state approval for the Long Beach stand-alone emergency department's laboratory before it can open, said it was still waiting for a letter from the health department.

"We are awaiting final, written confirmation that we have all the regulatory approvals we need to open the emergency department in Long Beach and begin receiving ambulances there via the 911 system," the Oceanside hospital said.

Once it has the letter in hand, the hospital said, it will need 48 hours to activate its staffing plan for round-the-clock coverage.

That means that if all goes well, the emergency department could open Friday or Monday.

Health department spokesman J.P. O'Hare credited the opening of the emergency department to "notable collaboration between DOH, South Nassau Communities Hospital and our state and federal partners."

The $8 million emergency department expansion was completed July 1, but opening it was delayed by a federal requirement for a higher-grade backup electrical system and by state approval for the lab.

On July 23, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave the Oceanside hospital a one-year, renewable waiver for the backup electrical system.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) said she was "proud to have helped cut through the red tape and get this facility up and running during Long Beach's busy summer season."

Long Beach City Council president Len Torres said the council was "thrilled that thanks to the hard work of Assemblyman Kaminsky and Congresswoman Rice, the red tape at the state and federal levels has cleared."

Long Beach residents have been without an emergency department since superstorm Sandy flooded Long Beach Medical Center in October 2012. Two years later, South Nassau purchased the bankrupt hospital for $11.8 million, and in January this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would give South Nassau $154 million to redevelop regional health services for Long Beach and the South Shore.

Construction -- on the same site as the current South Nassau Urgent Care Center at Long Beach -- began in early April. The 6,000-square-foot urgent-care center, which opened last July, was expanded to 8,200 square feet.

The new facility, one of only four freestanding emergency departments statewide, has six treatment rooms as well as an observation area with three patient beds.When it opens, at least eight staff members will be available around the clock, the hospital has said. Patients who require hospital admission will be transferred by ambulance to South Nassau.


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