State backs down on push to close Long Island College Hospital

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Long Island College Hospital may stay open after all — at least in some form — now that the State University of New York has withdrawn its controversial closure plan for the troubled hospital.

The university plans to work with the hospital’s doctors and the employees’ union to find an alternative owner for the hospital — a plan this paper exclusively reported in early February.

The university announced the plan on Friday — just a day after the New York City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the state to keep the 155-year-old Cobble Hill institution open.

“Downstate [the hospital system of the State University] has already been talking to other hospital operators, trying to gauge their interest in operating LICH,” said Robert Bellafiore, a university spokesman. “So far, there have been no takers. “

However, Bellafiore said, the university will continue to look for a hospital operator or a provider of other medical services in the community — “which may be smaller than a hospital,” he said.

“The economic reality of LICH hasn’t changed,” Bellafiore said. “It’s still losing significant amounts of money on a weekly basis.”

By law, Downstate has to submit a financial restructuring plan to the state by June 1. As part of this new deal, Long Island College Hospital must now be included in the plan.

Whatever the university decides to do, implementation of the plan will begin June 15.

It’s not clear what will happen if Long Island College Hospital can’t find a buyer, a spokesman for the union said, but that will be determined in coming months as part of ongoing talks between the unions and the State University of New York.

“From the beginning, our members worked with nurses, doctors, neighbors, patient advocates and elected officials, and did everything in our power to find alternative solutions that would keep LICH’s vital medical services and good jobs in the community,” said George Gresham, president Service Employees International Union Local 1199 United Healthcare Workers East. “This victory proves the grassroots strength we have when we unite for quality healthcare, and we will continue to work hard to ensure LICH remains open and thriving for generations to come.”

“We’ve been making our voices heard loud and clear — LICH is vital to Brooklyn,” said State Sen. Daniel Squadron in a statement. “And it’s clear we’re being heard.”

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

vindicated says:
forget about suing the bums. they need to go to jail & take Stanley B & his buddies with them.
April 27, 2013, 3:26 am
April 27, 2013, 4:11 am
Joey Fatone from Windsor Terrace says:
This sad chapter is over but the larger issue is not being solved: the reason hospitals "lose" "money" is because our health care system stinks! Running a hospital should not be about making or losing money but about providing care -- clearly a government, not a private sector, role. Should it be done efficiently? Sure. But the private sector has no interest in care, except to reduce it.
April 27, 2013, 9:20 am
Marc from Windsor Terrace says:
Better financial transparency would be nice. It is too easy for organizations that operate multiple hospitals and clinics to shift profitable programs from one location to another to improve the proifitablility of one location and increase the losses at the other. Furthermore, once a money-losing facility is closed, the beds may go away and the underutilized equipment and space may be disposed of, but its uninsured and underinsured patients are just going to show up somewhere else and increase that hospital's financial viability. Closing a hospital just passes the buck to the next hospital rather than improving healthcare.
April 27, 2013, 10:43 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Keeping it open just wastes more public funds that should go to other local healthcare providers and hospitals that operate efficiently. Why reward bad management with our tax money? That is exactly what they are doing.
April 29, 2013, 8:55 am
Carl from Ft. Greene says:
Hey, Bay Ridger, you know that Victory in your neck of the woods is next on the chopping block, right?

The reason there's this slew of hospitals talking about going out of business is that there is a discriminatory reimbursement system in place for Medicare and Medicaid. Let's say you have a procedure done in Brooklyn that allows the hospital to get reimbursed $1: same procedure in a Manhattan hospital gets a reimbursement of $5. That's a pattern that started 30 years ago and seems designed to starve Brooklyn to benefit Manhattan!

Stop this and everything takes care of itself.
April 29, 2013, 10:53 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Carl; Victory in my neck of the woods is already closed. I think they are still operating the nursing home and there may be a walk in clinic there, but there is no ER and no in patient care. And, they deserved to close if they could not operate efficiently.
April 30, 2013, 1:42 pm

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