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Report Advises Against Reopening of Former Long Beach Emergency Department in Previous Location

Posted: Mar. 1, 2015

Code issues cited; Other Locations Being Considered. Reopening an Emergency Department in a shuttered Long Beach Medical Center building is not advisable due to outstanding code and structural deficiencies, according to an independent analysis by a leading architectural firm.

Citing significant damage to electrical, mechanical, environmental and life safety systems in the former Long Beach Medical Center’s West and Main buildings, the architects, Blitch Knevel, conclude that it would be “cost and time prohibitive” to attempt repairs required by federal and state regulators.

South Nassau Communities Hospital, which now controls the former Long Beach Medical Center site, had explored obtaining waivers on some of the code issues. However, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) declined to grant waivers for more than 80 code compliance failures, including ones involving wind and earthquake protection as well as upgrades needed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates.

The analysis, conducted and prepared by Blitch Knevel Architects based in New Orleans, LA, found that the buildings are not code compliant in 88 categories covering structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing areas, including:

  • New duct distribution systems
  • New exhaust systems
  • New hot water system
  • New water distribution system
  • New boilers and steam distribution system
  • Full building fires sprinkler upgrades
  • Relocation of fire pump
  • New emergency and normal power systems with service separation requirements
  • New lighting and power
  • New IT, nurse call, patient monitor and phone systems
  • Seismic and lateral upgrades (for wind and earthquake protection) to comply with code revisions, including additional structure and strengthening of existing structural elements
  • ADA upgrades and additional toilets/parking/ramping requirements
Additional code compliance failures in the buildings include the lack of a centralized waste collection and storage area as well as a refrigerated storage facility for laboratory services.

Prior to its filing for bankruptcy in February 2014 and South Nassau’s acquisition of its assets in October 2014, the former LBMC was permitted to remain open under numerous code deficiencies (including those mentioned above) with permission from the state and CMS.

After SNCH closed on the assets acquisition of the shuttered medical center, the process of reinvestigating the reopening of its ED commenced. However, due to the time lapse between the 2013 proposal by the management of the former LBMC to reopen the ED and the transfer of control of its assets to SNCH, CMS informed the DOH and SNCH that it would not renew the compliance waivers and that the West and Main buildings needed to be renovated and rebuilt to all current federal and state codes and standards for healthcare.

“South Nassau is focused on improving emergency care services for the residents of Long Beach and surrounding communities,” said Richard J. Murphy, South Nassau’s president and CEO. “We are committed to establishing an off-campus, hospital based emergency services department in Long Beach by July 1 to benefit the needs of the residents and visitors to Long Beach and the other barrier island communities.”

South Nassau plans to invest $4.5 million to upgrade the Long Beach Urgent Care Center to an off-campus, hospital-based emergency department that will be able to receive 911 ambulance calls. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the facility will provide treatment for all medical emergencies.. As per existing Department of Health protocol, however, all acute strokes, heart attacks and trauma patients will be seen at the appropriate state-designated hospital. Any patient who requires hospital admission or advanced levels of treatment will be transferred from the off-campus Emergency Department in Long Beach to the South Nassau campus in Oceanside. South Nassau, which services some 900,000 residents of the South Shore from Queens to Suffolk County, is a Level II trauma center.

Since opening its doors to serve the Long Beach community six months ago, South Nassau’s Urgent Care Center at Long Beach (SNUCC) has treated more than 1,550 patients for a wide array of urgent medical conditions. Of the 1,555 residents treated at SNUCC, 1,475 were discharged to home after receiving the healthcare services that they needed. Another 65 were discharged via ambulances services provided by SNUCC, with 62 transported to South Nassau Communities Hospital’s emergency services department in Oceanside, where 40 were treated and released, 20 were admitted to the hospital, and two were admitted for observation before being discharged home.

In mid-November, an expansion to SNUCC was completed, and it now houses a new 64-slice CT scanner. This is the only operational CT scanner on the barrier island, and no other urgent care facility in Nassau County offers this superior level of on-site hospital-grade diagnostic imaging technology.

Located at 325 East Bay Drive (just west of the Komanoff Center for Geriatric and Rehabilitative Medicine), the 4,700-square-foot SNUCC houses 10 private examination rooms, two procedure rooms and radiology imaging and laboratory suites. Care is provided on a walk-in basis, with no appointments required, 9AM-9PM Monday-Friday, and 10AM-8PM Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Patients who are assessed as in need of further emergency care or hospitalization are transported to South Nassau or the hospital of their choice via on-site ambulance services.

Since its separate opening in May of 2014, the Family Medicine Center at Long Beach has totaled 1,667 patient visits from residents of Long Beach. SNUCC and the Family Medicine Center at Long Beach combined to provide residents of Long Beach and surrounding communities a continuum of hospital-grade urgent medical care and family medicine. South Nassau’s Family Medicine Center at Long Beach (located at 761 Franklin Blvd.) is an extension of South Nassau’s Family Medicine Center located on Merrick Rd. in Oceanside. Long Beach residents in need of quality, compassionate family medicine and a family practice physician can call the office at (516) 544-2351 to schedule an appointment.