What to Know
- The Mount Sinai South Nassau-operated Long Beach Emergency Department will be closed for at least a month due to nursing staff shortages occurring as a result of the state vaccine mandate, according to the hospital.
- An ambulance will be stationed around the clock at the closed location for the duration of the closure, as patients in need of emergency care will be directed to the hospital’s main campus in Oceanside.
- The hospital says that the staffing shortage and subsequent closure is a result of the hospital’s compliance with the NYSDOH’s mandate issued Thursday.
The Mount Sinai South Nassau-operated Long Beach Emergency Department was forced to close Monday afternoon due to nursing staff shortages occurring as a result of the state vaccine mandate, according to the hospital.
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.
A hospital official said 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 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.
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. “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.”
The hospital said that 99% of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s staff are fully vaccinated, not counting those who sought religious or medical exemptions. The hospital said it is 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.
“We are committed to serving residents of the barrier island,” Sharma said. “This closure should not be interpreted as anything beyond what it is – a temporary measure designed to relieve current staffing challenges in our Emergency Department.”