With a stroke of the pen, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge took the health care facility out of SUNY custody. LICH remains critical despite the move.

A flip of the LICH! Judge snatches hospital from state control

The Brooklyn Paper
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Long Island College Hospital got a shocking jolt yesterday when a judge ordered the hospital out of state hands because of what she called the state’s possible “sinister purpose to seize its assets and dismantle the hospital.”

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Carolyn Demarest’s court order ripped the hospital from the grip of the State University of New York, which has been trying since February to close the hospital’s doors. In her order, Demarest wrote that the state may have taken over the hospital in a bad-faith scheme to shutter the 155-year-old Cobble Hill institution and unload the real estate it sits on, which according to her is worth as much as a billion dollars. The judge wrote that she could not say whether a tough medical market, the state’s incompetence, or a real estate scheme were behind the closure plan, but that the state definitely dropped the ball and could no longer be trusted to care for the medical center.

“At the very least, there appears to have been a lack of due diligence,” Demarest wrote in the order.

The judge oversaw the state’s 2011 takeover of the hospital from management company Continuum Health Partners and her Tuesday ruling threw a wrench in court battles that have been raging over the hospital’s fate.

Demarest recommended the teaching hospital to be returned to Continuum management, but the former operator issued a statement saying it would be unable to take the reins, leaving the health care facility without a clear caretaker.

Despite the uncertainty, hospital advocates say that the unexpected ruling was a victory that at least backed up what they have been saying for years: that the state took over the medical center to sell it, not to save it.

“Real estate profits must not be put before the health care needs of an entire community,” said New York State Nurses Association executive director Jill Furillo at a press conference following the ruling.

A new operator will likely still sell some hospital buildings and cut some services in order to save the hospital from financial free-fall, but those steps must be done with the intent to keep it open as a general teaching hospital, according to the court order.

“At the very least, it is a probability that LICH can only be sustained as a smaller and leaner facility after the sale of some of its assets,” Demarest wrote in the order.

A spokesman for the state university would not say if it will appeal the order — and hospital advocates question whether an appeal is even possible without a full hearing into the state’s original plans — but the state does contend that it acquired the hospital with “the best of intentions.”

“Unfortunat­ely, SUNY and LICH became victims of the daunting realities of Brooklyn’s health care delivery landscape,” said Robert Bellafiore, a school spokesman. “We are disappointed it did not work, but it was not for lack of effort.”

In 2011, the state said that its plan was to keep the hospital open indefinitely despite its poor financial situation — in fact, the deal included the understanding that the hospital would likely lose $144.4 million for the first three years, according to the court order.

To date, Long Island College Hospital has only lost $30 million, the order said.

The court is holding a hearing this Thursday to discuss the logistics of transferring power back to Long Island College Hospital staff and searching for a new hospital operator.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:14 pm, July 9, 2018: Story has been updated to reflect that the state acquired Long Island College Hospital without payment and that Judge Carolyn Demarest recommended in her order that the hospital be returned to Continuum Health Partners management, rather than directly ordering it.
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Reasonable discourse

get it right from cobble hill says:
SO many things wrong with this article. Does anyone over there read the facts up on what they're reporting before they report it?

#1 Judge did not order the hospital back to Continuum. She suggested that Continuum take it back but if they can't there are several other alternatives under state law plus she's invited all RFP respondants & interested parties to conference in her chambers Thursday to decide a course

#2 SUNY did not BUY LICH - it was GIVEN LICH for $0, specifically to maintain LICH as a hospital. In fact SUNY was given tens of millions in grants to make improvements at LICH. (btw they used it to make improvements to their medical school instead). SO actually SUNY was paid to operate LICH.

#3 Judge disputes the myth that the hospital was in poor financial condition - goes so far to say that LICH did not need SUNY to "save it" & would not have been in bankruptcy & actually did have resources, assets & other avenues that could have been taken. In fact, LICH's funds were doing so well that SUNY was pilfering them to bail out its real failing hospital in Central Bklyn.

Please do the homework so the reporting turns out accurate. Thanks.
Aug. 21, 2013, 9:11 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:
location location location. I can only imagine the salivating going on to get hold of the real estate that LICH currently occupies.

Life, Liberty, etc. Keeping this hospital open and operating falls under the first one.
Aug. 21, 2013, 9:39 am
cobble hill from Cobble Hill says:
This is a plot to get someone elected - guess who? Once he's in, it's bye bye LICH.

The nurses union is in it for the money and could care less about health care other than a means to collect dues - simple truth.

An easy equation; no money no money = no hospital. Any judge that plays different is wasting our tax dollars.
Aug. 21, 2013, 10:07 am
informed from here says:
You think LICH Nurses & their union have been in the 8mth long fight of their lives for their patients for the pittance in dues money that goes to the nurses union? yeah ok. delusional

BTW if you read Judge Demarest's 8 page order, you'll see that the claim that LICH had "no money no money" was a bold faced LIE & LICH was actually so well off that SUNY used LICH's funds to subsidize its other hospital. She goes on to say that LICH was not near bankruptcy & did not need SUNY to save it. It could have done well enough on its own.

But now LICH has money again. Almost a billion of it.

Find another argument.
Aug. 21, 2013, 2:39 pm
read it myself from cg says:
The facts:

1. LICH did not need SUNY to "save it" from closure. LICH could have taken care of itself. Judge: "LICH’s assets were, however, considerable and many alternatives to closure of the hospital were available."

2. Judge: "reports recently submitted do not indicate that SUNY-Downstate has actually sustained losses of the magnitude anticipated as a result of its operation of LICH". AKA SUNY LIED about LICH 'dragging down all of SUNY'

3. Judge: "LICH’s Liability Fund is actually in very good financial condition, to the extent that SUNY has sought to cover its own financial difficulties by accessing LICH’s retained assets". AKA SUNY LIED & IS FEEDING ITSELF OFF LICH, literally sucking LICH dry.

Judge pretty much says LICH is not the problem, SUNY is! And she practically calls them liars right there in the order.

read the Judge's entire order here:
Judge Demarest's order "A Legal and Moral Responsibility"
Aug. 21, 2013, 4:26 pm
Jane Addams from Gowanus says:
SUNY was finally, very belatedly, busted, though I'm not optimistic the smackdown is hard enough.

The absolutely venal crook Cuomo SHOULD be impeached for this, and if woeful blind sap David Paterson (who?) wasn't already forgotten...

Not to pretend Pataki was anything but corrupt vermin either but Cuomo is no better and in many ways worse.

FACT: LICH was run into the ground purposely in the name of an illegal real estate swindle. Wake the eff up, or at least ADMIT it and tell the rest of us tough luck.
Aug. 21, 2013, 9:40 pm
up from down says:
All around

This is all bull

It closed because it wasn't making it

And no one know anything but LICH

Talk all you want - don't amount to nothing

It will close after the election - you'll see
Aug. 25, 2013, 11:22 pm
Long gone from Carroll Gardens says:
Loch was always a bad hospital
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:48 pm
Just left from Carroll Gardens says:
Aug. 26, 2013, 10:50 pm
Jimutz from Cobble Hill says:
I concur with read it myself from cg,

Read the document.
Aug. 28, 2013, 3:55 pm

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