Written by Adina Genn and Leah Bush
Hundreds are expected to protest the downsizing of Glen Cove Hospital Saturday at a rally in Glen Cove. Many are concerned the move may impact surrounding hospitals in the North Shore-LIJ Hospital System, including Syosset.
North Shore-LIJ plans to phase out inpatient bed services in January 2014 while also expanding ambulatory surgery center, medical offices, outpatient cancer services, a community health and outreach center, and physical therapy and rehabilitation.
“It’s very troubling across the hospital system,” Carol Meschkow, president of the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community, Inc. told the Oyster Bay Town Board earlier this month.
She pointed out that residents in Glen Head, Locust Valley and elsewhere who are in need of services would have to drive to Plainview or Syosset Hospital, when Glen Cove would have been their “first stop.”
Meschkow pointed out that the number of beds at Syosset had already been reduced.
A spokesman for North Shore-LIJ said Syosset Hospital now has fewer than 100 beds. That site was converted into a minimally invasive surgical specialty and vision care hospital back in the 1990s, North Shore-LIJ officials have said, pointing to its success in repositioning its hospitals in the past.
Addressing the concerns, Town Supervisor John Venditto said the town and the City of Glen Cove have a “constructive relationship.”
Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi has been a vocal opponent of the downsizing and has asked residents to sign an online petition at change.org, urging the hospital to maintain services.
"The closing or downsizing of a community hospital has countless negative effects on the immediate and surrounding communities," the petition reads. "Eliminating inpatient beds and transforming the hospital into an ambulatory care facility would be devastating to our residents, our three assisted living communities, nursing home patients, local businesses and real estate, not to mention the effect on our Emergency Service Corps (EMS), and public health and safety. Remember, every voice and every signature counts. Let's work together to SAVE GLEN COVE HOSPITAL."
Major hospital donors Mildred and Frank Feinberg will be present once again after speaking at the last hospital rally two weeks ago at Glen Cove Hospital.
Frank Feinberg told a crowd of over 200 attendees in mid-August, that honesty, integrity, respect and communication are missing in the dialog with the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Defending its decision to phase out in-patient beds in 2014, North Shore-LIJ said recently that that operations are “unsustainable” and they intend to identify job opportunities within the North Shore-LIJ system for workers affected by the changes.
The rally will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. in front of Glen Cove Library.
For more information on Saturday's rally, call 516-676-2004.