LONG BEACH, N.Y. – The last hospital still closed after Superstorm Sandy is embroiled in a dispute with the New York Health Department over whether it should reopen.
The state says Long Beach Medical Center has been bleeding money for years and should merge with its closest competitor.
Hospital officials say they're open to discussing a merger but insist any agreement would require that an emergency room be allowed to operate on the barrier island outside New York City.
State officials say Long Beach can't accommodate the necessary services to support an emergency room. They say a fully functioning lab, radiology, pharmacy and intensive care unit are needed.
Residents have collected 11,000 petition signatures demanding a resolution. Hospital officials plan to meet with state Health Department officials Friday to try to reach a solution.