From Beach to Bay Civic :
Long Beach Barrier Island and Island Park residents are NOT satisfied with South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Proposal
Newsday article “Long Beach care OK: Poll” (Tuesday, January 19) was important as it can serve as the foundation for further discussion and planning.
Beach to Bay Civic appreciates the questions that were asked; however, two very significant population groups were not included in the survey: 1) the very vulnerable and fragile nursing home population constituting 5% of the total barrier island; and 2) the summer influx of visitors which nearly doubles the population in need of health care. At the same time, several key questions were not asked, skewing the results and offering an incomplete view of the real needs and priorities of the residents… Of the 20 questions on the SNCH survey, 8 related to a Primary Care Physician, 3 pertained to Emergency Room, 4 were demographic questions, and only two questions asked about a Hospital. . No questions were asked about transportation difficulties, and there were no questions related to the problems of chronic disease such as stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Long Beach barrier island Hospital! Based on our discussion with various community groups, businesses and elected officials there is a recurring theme: Long Beach needs a Hospital – we presently have over a thousand petitions signed that express this need.
South Nassau’s survey is incomplete and inadequate. Here are some questions we think need to be asked:
– Emergency Room Capabilities: The new Emergency Room cannot accept ambulances with patients who have any of 9 medical conditions, including trauma, stroke, active labor and isolated hip fractures. Ambulances are required to bring these patients to either Oceanside or elsewhere. Are you satisfied with that level of medical care?
– Hospital Beds: South Nassau proposes to have no Hospital beds on Long Beach, requiring Hospitalization at their Oceanside Hospital. Do you believe that medical care for you or your family would be best served at a Long Beach Hospital or an Oceanside Hospital?
– Medical Pavilion: South Nassau has proposed a $40 million Medical Arts Pavilion to be built on the site of the former Long Beach Medical Center. The proposed Pavilion can treat patients who require dialysis, occupational therapy, behavioral problems (psychiatric and drug problems) and office space, but not include any Hospital beds. This means procedures requiring Hospital beds must be completed either in Oceanside or elsewhere. Are you in favor of or opposed to this proposed level of medical care?
– Loss of Doctors: Long Beach has lost almost half of its primary care physicians since Sandy, since Doctors tend to conduct business where there is a Hospital. Has this loss of Long Beach doctors affected your level of medical care? Is this a worrisome problem for you?
– Travel impact: Will your medical care be negatively impacted if the only Hospital facility is located in Oceanside or another site off the barrier island? Does the fact that you must travel to Oceanside to obtain hospital care constitute a difficult or impossible burden for you?
– FEMA Funds: FEMA has approved over $150 million to “rebuild an essential facility at the former Long Beach Medical Center site”. The South Nassau proposal only plans to spend $40 million on the Long Beach site, with the $100 million balance spent at the South Nassau Oceanside site. Do you think your level of medical care is best served by a Hospital in Long Beach or Oceanside? Do you think that this is a fair and responsible use of your tax dollars?*
[*The reason we believe these survey questions are needed is that South Nassau’s own research highlights these problems).
We also believe it is necessary for South Nassau to involve the community to a greater degree in proposals and planning. Last week South Nassau had 30 community representatives listen to a “preliminary Community Health Needs Assessment”. The meeting was beneficial, since it presented important information regarding our community’s health needs and enabled some questions to be asked. However, this was far different from having the community involved in planning its own health care future and having any say in the spending of its tax dollars.
South Nassau was asked by the community leaders to make available their slides, financial models, survey results, and raw data, but they have not agreed to do so.
This request for transparency would go a long way in improving the understanding and support for proposals, and might result in improved recommendations.
Bottom line: the barrier island Civics do agree that surveys and community discussions are desirable and beneficial. However, South Nassau needs to focus on issues important to the community, and involve the community in planning and decision-making.
Together is always better!
Barbara Bernardino, President
Ed Glister, Project Manager
Dr. Marty Gruber, Director of Research
Phyllis Libutti, Vice President