Thursday, 15 August 2013 00:00
Having heard anxious concerns from friends and colleagues, I would like to summarize several ways in which re-configuring Glen Cove Hospital from a full-service facility to an ambulatory care center will adversely affect our community.
With respect to full disclosure, in addition to being a resident of Glen Cove for 20-plus years, I am a physician on staff at NS-LIJ at Glen Cove, and a candidate for City Council this November on Mayor Suozzi’s slate.
I’ve received calls from friends who work at the hospital but were afraid to voice their opinions in public. They and their co-workers are concerned - they’ve bought houses to be near their jobs, they chose jobs to be near their homes, and they’ve leased office space near the hospital where they have admitting privileges. They want to keep their seniority and their positions, and they want to stay where they are comfortable, especially in a small community hospital setting.
Granted, an ambulatory care facility will require staffing, but not as many as are currently employed by the hospital. To Glen Cove, economically, this translates to fewer staff members frequenting our restaurants or ordering take-out, and fewer out-of-town staff running in to patronize our local businesses,as for example, our grocery stores, dry cleaners and hardware stores so conveniently located near their workplace. Physicians may have to re-locate their practices so they can more easily pop back and forth between their offices and their new hospital. This, too, affects the local economy and may lead to empty office spaces in Glen Cove. Unfortunately, not all patients will follow their physicians, because proximity of care is important to many people, and they may change to physicians who aren’t part of the NS-LIJ system. If doctors, staff, and services move away, and if our businesses lose customers, then the ramifications to Glen Cove’s economy and our tax base will be tremendous.
I believe having a hospital in our community adds to our property values.. When I promote Glen Cove, I speak of the services available to our residents, the parks, the beaches, the concerts, the golf course - and, I typically add, we have a hospital right here.
When Glen Cove Hospital was brought into the NSUH system approximately 20 years ago, city residents expected an even more full-service hospital; never was it expected that the city could actually lose access to nearby in-patient care. In fact, I doubt the acquisition would ever have been supported if there had been any doubts about the longevity of the facility. My understanding is that the ER is to remain, but who will pay for every patient who needs admission to be transported? Health insurance companies are already over-burdoned. Will the ER be staffed to manage unstable critical patients who need an ICU-type setting while managing all of the other emergencies? Have studies been performed to determine casualty rates of transported critical care patients? I, myself, have been admitted direct from this ER to the ICU upstairs - I can’t imagine being transported in the condition I was in, and possibly having my specialty care delayed.
I hope the extremely dedicated auxiliary department is not going to be disbanded. My son recently started volunteering at the hospital, and I was told that this was not just a summer job, but that they expected a long-term commitment. I’m asking the NS-LIJ system to show its commitment to Glen Cove now.
I kindly urge you to re-consider your decision and allow Glen Cove to retain the full-service hospital that, on many different levels, the City has come to rely on.
Dr. Eve Lupenko