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New advisory board at LICH - Critics question formation

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Several months after announcing the dismantling of their maternity, pediatrics and dentistry units, Long Island College Hospital’s management consortium has given the green light to the establishment of a Community Advisory Board.

Manhattan-based consortium Continuum Health Partners also manages Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center.

Among the civic organizations that LICH Interim President/Chief Restructuring Officer Dominick Stanzione approached about joining the board, or CAB, is the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA).

“The purpose of the advisory board is to help LICH strengthen our relationship with the communities we serve,” wrote Stanzione in a letter to the BHA, which was also signed by LICH COO John Byrne.

“The CAB will support LICH’s programs and serve in an advisory capacity to the hospital administration, addressing matters concerning health care needs and hospital program expansion plans,” the letter added.

BHA President Judy Stanton, to whom the letter is addressed, said she is hesitant about joining the CAB, but will bring the matter to the board members for consultation.

“It’s a little late to form an advisory board and I wonder if it will just be a foil for further dissolution of the hospital,” said Stanton.

Stanton said she would prefer that Borough President Marty Markowitz, who first suggested a CAB after LICH announced service and staff reductions, convene the board rather than Continuum.

LICH spokesperson Zipporah Dvash said many hospitals have CABs made up of local community based organizations, civic groups, elected leaders and community board representatives.

“We hadn’t really had one and we really want one so we’re in the process of forming one,” said Dvash.

Dvash said the CAB will not be involved in any discussions concerning the reduction of services and employees at the hospital, as these are “business decisions which are always under the purvey of the administra­tion.”

Dvash said LICH already meets regularly with the Cobble Hill Association to discuss mutual community issues, such as traffic, and the CAB will be a more formal group.

Dvash refused to say how many or to whom letters went out.

However, sources close to the issue said LICH will send out a total of about 65 letters with the expectation that 30 or 35 members will sign on.

The letters are being sent to include neighborhoods beyond just that surrounding LICH, the source said.

Roy Sloan, current secretary and past president of the CHA, confirmed the organization has a LICH committee that does meet and has an excellent relationship with LICH.

The group discusses frictional issues in the community such as parking, maintenance and broken playground equipment, but not health issues, said Sloan.

“They (LICH) have had an advisory board many years ago before Continuum took over called the Planning and Development Committee, in which people concerned about health care issues sat on,” recalled Sloan.

“It was an excellent group and was entirely about heath care issues and development for the hospital,” he added.

The first CAB meeting is set for 9 a.m., Tuesday, November 25 at the LICH Community Advisory Board Room, 339 Hicks Street.

Markowitz said while he is pleased that a CAB is forming and plans to meet before Thanksgiving, there is much more to be done.

“It remains my goal to find a way to save the services Continuum is proposing to cut,” said Markowitz.

“As I have said, closing LICH is not an option, and we are working with stakeholders to try to preserve its services for Brooklyn families,” he added.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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