Assembly candidate Todd Kaminsky called on the New York State Department of Health to protect tens of thousands of Long Beach barrier island residents who have been without a local emergency room for nearly two years by authorizing a freestanding emergency department at the Long Beach Hospital site.
Under state law, the new operators of Long Beach Hospital, South Nassau Community Hospital, can apply for a license to open a detached emergency facility in order to receive 911 dispatches. Kaminsky demanded that South Nassau and the State immediately work together to get an emergency center up and running, so that local residents don’t have to leave the island for lifesaving care.
“In an emergency, every extra moment it takes to get to a hospital can be the difference between life and death,” Kaminsky said. “Since Sandy, barrier island residents have been deprived of a hospital–and, most critically, local emergency care. There is a simple solution: the state can authorize a freestanding emergency department at the Long Beach Hospital site, significantly cutting down travel times for many residents so that they can get quick care when they need it most.
“I call on South Nassau and the State Department of Health to work together to provide a freestanding emergency department at the Long Beach Hospital site as soon as possible.”
Community members joined Kaminsky in support of his proposal during a rally at the Long Beach Hospital site. Commissioner Chas Thompson of the Point Lookout/Lido Beach fire district also offered his support by releasing a statement which detailed a dramatic spike in ambulance travel times since Long Beach Hospital closed.
“The time it takes us to get emergency victims to a hospital has virtually quadrupled since the Long Beach Medical Center closed,” Thompson said. “Factoring in the drawbridges, traffic, and distance to the nearest emergency departments, it now takes upwards of 20 minutes, when it used to take just 5. There is a clear need for an emergency department in Long Beach, and that need must be fulfilled.”
The state first recognized FEDs in 2004, and there are five in operation in New York today. In 2007, the Department of Health amended the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act definition of emergency care facility to include FEDs.
The Long Beach Hospital site can currently treat urgent care patients, but does not take 911 dispatches.
As a community advocate, Todd Kaminsky has worked vigorously in support of the South Shore. He organized free legal clinics for those affected by Hurricane Sandy and helped bring tens of thousands of dollars in relief funds to local residents. For his efforts, Todd was awarded the Community Service Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Long Beach Martin Luther King Center’s Sandy Relief Service Award.
Todd’s commitment to public service is inspired by his grandparents, who collectively served 40 years on the Long Beach Board of Education. His mother and grandmother were also teachers in the Long Beach School District.
He received his law degree, magna cum laude, from New York University, and his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan. Todd and his wife, Ellen, have been married since 2010. They live in Long Beach, where he grew up.