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Mt. Sinai’s Long Beach Site to Reopen After Closing Due to Vax-Related Staff Shortages

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What to Know

  • The Mount Sinai South Nassau-operated Long Beach Emergency Department that was forced to close Monday afternoon due to nursing staff shortages occurring as a result of the state vaccine mandate, will reopen again Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.
  • According to the governor, the New York State Department of Health worked closely with hospital officials and local community leaders to reopen the Emergency Department to 24/7 services starting 7 a.m. Friday.
  • The initial decision to temporarily close the facility, the only emergency room in the 50,000 resident city of Long Beach, was made after all other options were exhausted, according to the hospital.

The Mount Sinai South Nassau-operated Long Beach Emergency Department that was forced to close Monday afternoon due to nursing staff shortages occurring as a result of the state vaccine mandate, will reopen again Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced.

According to the governor, the New York State Department of Health worked closely with hospital officials and local community leaders to reopen the Emergency Department to 24/7 services starting 7 a.m. Friday.

“As your Governor, I will ensure the state does everything we can to alleviate the stress on hospitals and emergency care facilities – so health care facilities, please continue to alert us when you are struggling,” Hochul said in a press release. “I want to thank Mount Sinai South Nassau and local community partners for working with us to restore ER services and continue providing high quality care to the residents of Nassau County. The Department of Health will keep working closely with hospital and local officials to monitor and troubleshoot any future potential staff shortage issues.”

The decision to temporarily close the facility, the only emergency room in the 50,000 resident city of Long Beach, was made after all other options were exhausted, according to the hospital. The state said Thursday that the DOH was able to quickly help them alleviate this shortage and set up a plan to reopen, although the Health Department will continue to monitor the situation, according to the state.

Details of the plan were not immediately disclosed.

The hospital said at the time of its closure that an ambulance will be stationed around the clock at the closed location for the duration of the closure to take patients in need of emergency care to the hospital’s main campus in Oceanside — a trauma center designated facility five miles away, which takes about 15-20 minutes to reach by car.

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The hospital said that the staffing shortage and subsequent closure is a result of the hospital’s compliance with the NYSDOH’s mandate issued last Thursday which requires the suspension of any staff working under temporary religious exemptions who cannot show proof of receiving a first dose of COVID-19 vaccination or a valid medical exemption from receiving it.

The hospital lost six dozen employees. According to the hospital, all were unvaccinated but working with a religious exemption — an exemption that ended last week. Some of these six dozen employees are ER nurses who the hospital said are not easily replaced due to training and other factors, the hospital went on to say.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) was notified of the need to close the free-standing Long Beach Emergency Department (LBED) on Friday and granted verbal approval, according to Mount Sinai South Nassau. The emergency department, which sees about 10,000 visitors annually, will be closed for at least a month.

The FDA expanded the elligibility for COVID booster shots to anyone older than 18-years-old, just as COVID cases are on the rise in the city and New Yorkers have mixed reactions to the news. NBC New York’s Romney Smith reports.

Although the hospital asked the state for more time to work this out, the request was denied.

“We regret having to take this step but the safety of our patients is always our No. 1 priority,” Dr. Adhi Sharma, president Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital, said in a statement when the temporarily closure was announced. “This will allow us to shift nursing staff to the Oceanside campus to ensure that we maintain adequate staffing at the Emergency Department at our main campus.”

In a follow-up statement on Thursday, Sharma said in part: “We are grateful for the support we received from so many individuals to make this happen and re-open for our community.”

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The hospital previously said that 99% of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s staff are fully vaccinated, not counting those who sought religious or medical exemptions. Additionally, it announced that it was recruiting experienced and qualified staff who can show proof of either a first dose COVID-19 vaccination or a valid medical exemption so that it can resume full operations of the Long Beach Emergency Department by mid-December.

Source: NBC New York

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