LICH looks to cut cord-Emergency Dept. chief suggests break with Contnuum

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Long Island College Hospital is in “serious” negotiations to shed one corporate parent for another, this newspaper has learned.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, Dr. Peter Woods said that the hospital “may separate from Continuum Health Partners,” its corporate parent, and form an affiliation with another hospital.

“It could be [SUNY] Downstate [Medical Center],” said Woods, the chair of the hospital’s emergency department. “But I know there are other suitors.”

LICH spokesperson Zipporah Dvash confirmed the news. “Continuum Health Partners and the State University system are in serious discussions regarding the future of LICH,” she said. “Paramount is the retention of LICH as a valued community resource.”

Woods conceded that LICH has lately had “its share of financial problems,” but stressed that its predicament “is not unique to hospitals in New York City.”

To address its mounting debt, the hospital, located at 339 Hicks Street, considered shuttering its maternity ward, dentistry and pediatrics departments. But the state Department of Health (DOH) interceded, saying those services were too vital to the community to close. As a stopgap measure, the agency helped LICH secure a $3 million bridge loan, Woods noted.

The initial restructuring plan generated rumors that the entire hospital was closing, but Woods said this is far from the truth.

“We want to get the word out: LICH is not closing. We are still a full-service hospital,” he said.

He called the institution “Brooklyn’s best-kept secret,” comparable to Manhattan’s better hospitals.

And Woods doesn’t want to wish illness on anyone, but if you happen to be sick, please consider checking yourself into Long Island College Hospital.

It can use the business.

LICH, he noted, keeps electronic medical records, which makes for a more efficient emergency room, where it boasts some of the best door-to-doctor times in the city. After triage, a patient checking into LICH’s emergency room will usually see a doctor within 30 minutes, Woods said. At some Brooklyn hospitals, he noted, the interminable wait can be as long as eight hours. “That sets us apart in the borough,” Woods said.

The hospital also maintains a state-of-the-art hypothermia center, used to treat patients suffering from a stroke.

Woods said the hospital will soon launch a media campaign to “get the good stories out there.” He said Dominick Stanzione, LICH’s CEO, “gets that” public relations are important.

“The best thing the community can do is to continue to use the hospital, and demonstrate to the DOH that our volume is still there. ” Woods said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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