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South Nassau Completes Construction of Long Island’s First Off-Campus Emergency Department in Long Beach

Posted: Jun. 30, 2015

Facility to Reopen as Urgent Care Center Pending Regulatory Approvals. Emergency Department Opening Expected Later This Summer.

Oceanside, NY — South Nassau Communities Hospital has completed an $8 million transformation and upgrade of its Long Beach Urgent Care Center to Long Island’s first off-campus Emergency Services Department that will operate around the clock and be able to receive ambulances via the 9-1-1 system once final regulatory approvals have been obtained later this summer.

The extensive upgrade was completed in less than three months – meeting a scheduled July 1st goal for construction completion.

The rebuilt facility – which now includes a three-bed observation unit and special treatment areas for infectious disease and behavioral health cases - will reopen its doors to the residents and visitors of Long Beach and barrier island communities temporarily as an Urgent Care Center on July 1, pending final federal regulatory approval.

As an Urgent Care Center, the facility will retain its current hours of operation of 9:00 am - 9:00 pm Monday – Friday; and 10:00 am - 8:00 pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays. It will not receive ambulances via the 9-1-1- system.

South Nassau has been working closely with the New York State Department of Health to open the Emergency Department in Long Beach, including to obtain final federal and state approvals of its application to operate. Specifically, South Nassau is awaiting approval from the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid to allow South Nassau to operate the Long Beach Emergency Department using a newly installed emergency power backup system. A federal waiver concerning the emergency backup system – which was endorsed by the New York State Department of Health - is needed before South Nassau can operate the facility as an Emergency Department. The current upgrade included installation of a "Type 3" emergency back up electrical system, which provides for battery power backup for up to 90 minutes and a natural gas powered, stand-alone generator. Additionally, proficiency testing is underway as part of the state certification process of an on-site lab that is required before the Emergency Department at Long Beach can open.

South Nassau had hoped to begin operating the facility as an Emergency Department beginning on July 1st and has been working with state regulators to ensure that the highest levels of emergency patient care are maintained at the Long Beach site. "This project was completed in record time," said South Nassau's President & CEO, Richard J. Murphy. "We hope the Long Beach community will continue to use the Urgent Care Center while we undergo these additional regulatory reviews, which are required before we can open as a full-fledged, off-campus Emergency Department. Our goal is to open as an Emergency Department as soon as we are legally able to do so."

A number of local elected officials who have inspected the newly outfitted facility expressed satisfaction with the renovation work accomplished to date.

"I have toured the new facility and am excited for what’s to come" said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. "Getting a 911-receiving emergency room open for this summer was at the top of my priority list when I took office -- we are so very close to achieving this goal. I will be working everyday with State and federal partners to expedite its opening." "The City Council requests the federal government grant South Nassau the necessary waiver so Long Beach's 911-receiving emergency room can open as soon as possible," said Long Beach City Councilman Anthony Eramo.

In the meantime, the Long Beach Urgent Care Center will continue to be staffed by nurses and physicians who are specially trained in emergency medicine.

South Nassau's Emergency Medicine Department Chair, Dr. Joshua Kugler, has been working closely with the EMS community, including the Long Beach Fire Department, to ensure smooth operations once the Long Beach Emergency Department opens and is able to receive ambulances.

Patients seen at the Long Beach facility will be part of the electronic medical records system of South Nassau and will face a smooth transition should they need to be admitted to the Oceanside hospital campus, which is five miles away from the Long Beach center.

“The Long Beach facility has the same South Nassau staff and same high standards of patient care as our Oceanside Emergency Department," said Dr. Kugler. "We have been working with the design team to ensure it has all the equipment and features we need to operate effectively in Long Beach and we are very pleased with the outcome."

The upgraded Urgent Care Center is located at the same address, 325 East Bay Dr., adjacent to the Komanoff Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center. The new facility has six treatment rooms, with a surge capacity of 17 beds, including a holding area for observation with three patient beds; as well as a negative pressure room designed for possible infectious disease cases, a medical laboratory, and an advanced medical imaging department that includes an X-ray machine and a 64-slice CT scanner. The scanner is the only operational CT scanner on the barrier island.

Other elements of the upgrade included doubling the size of the corridors, installing medical gases at each treatment area and a self-contained emergency power back up system. The new facility also has a triple air filtration system, portable x-ray, a treatment area for bariatric cases and a special room for decontamination with its own entrance.

Patients treated and stabilized at the new facility who require hospital admission or advanced levels of treatment will be transferred by ambulance service to South Nassau or the appropriate hospital. South Nassau, which services some 900,000 residents of the South Shore, from Queens to Suffolk County, is a Level II trauma center and advanced cardiac center.

The $8 million cost of the upgrade is in addition to the $5 million South Nassau invested to build the Urgent Care Center, which opened in July of 2014 In its first year of service to the residents of Long Beach and the barrier island, South Nassau's Urgent Care Center in Long Beach treated more than 3,000 patients.

In May, South Nassau established a partnership with the City of Long Beach to augment the City’s existing ambulance fleet by providing secondary backup for 9-1-1- ambulance calls as part of a mutual aide agreement.

Under the agreement, South Nassau ambulances stationed at the emergency department respond during specified hours when needed as backup for 9-1-1 calls. South Nassau ambulances are staffed by paramedics who are able to communicate with physicians trained in emergency medicine to ensure proper treatment on the scene or while a patient is en route to the appropriate medical facility. South Nassau’s fleet of three ambulances provide the latest in pre-hospital care, using state-of-the-art technology-based solutions to coordinate patient care during peak time hours.

South Nassau announced in March a plan to build a two-story, 30,000 square-feet Medical Arts Pavilion on the site of the former Long Beach Medical Center. In addition to serving as the future home of the emergency department, the facility could house suites for family medicine, behavioral health, ambulatory surgery, sports medicine and physical rehabilitation, dialysis and other medical services needed by residents of Long Beach and surrounding communities.

South Nassau has commissioned a study – based on discharge and other data – to determine which services are most needed on the barrier island in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which forced the closing of LBMC more than two years ago. The projected cost of the medical arts pavilion is $20-$30 million and will represent another major investment by South Nassau in Long Beach.

South Nassau also operates the Family Medicine Center at Long Beach, which provide residents of Long Beach and surrounding communities a continuum of primary family medical care. Since its opening in May of 2014, the Family Medicine Center at Long Beach has totaled more than 3,000 patient visits from residents of Long Beach. It combines with the emergency department to provide residents of Long Beach and surrounding communities a continuum of emergency and primary care medicine.

South Nassau is the only hospital on Long Island to win four major awards for quality in recent months, including for women’s services, nursing excellence, and top rankings from U.S. News & World Report and from the Joint Commission. In addition, it is one of just 559 hospitals in the country to be awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Quality Achievement Award, and it is also a recipient of the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Silver-Plus Quality Achievement Award.

Designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), South Nassau® Communities Hospital is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,000 employees. Located in Oceanside, NY, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health and emergency services. In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty, and is the only hospital on Long Island with the Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. South Nassau is a designated Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons and is an accredited center of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Association and Quality Improvement Program. In addition, the hospital has been awarded the Joint Commission’s gold seal of approval as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care; and disease-specific care for hip and joint replacement, wound care and end-stage renal disease. For more information, visit www.southnassau.org.