Long Beach emergency room reopens following shut down due to staffing shortages
The Long Beach emergency room that announced earlier this week it was shutting down over staffing shortages has reopened.
It's welcome news to many after the facility was forced to close its doors earlier this week.
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Nurse staffing shortages due to the state's COVID-19 mandate caused Mount Sinai South Nassau-Emergency Department to close Monday. After meeting with state and health officials Thursday Gov. Kathy Hochul announced doors would open again at 7 a.m. Friday with all needed staff in place.
"The nurses are being supplied by the greater Mount Sinai health system," says state Sen. Todd Kaminsky. "Most who work in the city are now coming out here for a two-week period. South Nassau has already hired traveling nurses. They just have to get here and get trained. So, they're thinking Dec. 8 is when they can have their own nurses staffed."
It's the only emergency room on the barrier island of Long Beach. The past few days, residents were being directed to the next closest facility in Oceanside, something Kaminsky says is unacceptable.
"Saying just go 20 minutes or a half hour away is not an acceptable answer," says Kaminsky. "Tragedy certainly could have happened."
Residents in the area were also concerned, saying obstacles like the bridge and construction could have also caused delays in getting medical care.
Some local leaders say the facility never should have closed to begin with.
"The fact that they say they couldn't keep it open over eight nurses just seems ludicrous, considering the size of their network," says Long Beach City Council President John Boden.
Why couldn't they bring in the nurses from the city earlier? Kaminsky says the nurses in the city are unionized, this facility is not. There was a question as to if they could work there.