LONG BEACH - Civic groups say the New York State Department of Health did not ask for the public’s input into its plan to convert Long Beach Medical Center to an urgent care center.
Long Beach Medical Center has been closed since Superstorm Sandy and filed for bankruptcy protection in February. Nearby South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside would like to purchase the facility, but not as a fully functional hospital. It would like to maintain an emergency room for 911 calls and an urgent care center at the facility.
Attorney Francis McQuade says the health department may have violated state law by not having a public meeting 30 days after the hospital was closed. He pointed to a section of the public health law that says, "the commissioner shall hold a public community forum for the purpose of obtaining public input."
Civic groups have sent a letter to the health department demanding answers as to why they did not have a say in the hospital proceedings. Civic leader Barbara Bernardino hopes the state will require a fully functioning hospital be reopened.
Calls for comment from News 12 to the New York State Department of Health and Long Beach Medical Center were not returned.
For an extended interview with Attorney Francis McQuade, watch the clip to the left or go to News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.