The state is walking away from Long Island College Hospital on May 23 and turning off the lights now that a developer that pledged to keep the hospital open is facing mounting difficulty getting its ducks in a row, the state said.
The State University of New York expects to shutter the 156-year-old Cobble Hill institution before Brooklyn Health Partners, the winning bidder to take over the hospital, can obtain an operating certificate from the Department of Health for a temporary medical facility, according to a letter sent from university lawyers to anti-closure attorneys. Activists said that, despite a court settlement that allows the state to wash its hands of the medical facility after May 22, officials ought to pitch in to keep it open a little longer, now that a savior appears to be within reach.
“We expect SUNY and the Department of Health to do everything within their power to ensure that the community served by LICH is not left without a hospital for any period of time,” said Eliza Bates, spokeswoman for the New York State Nurses Association, which sued the state to try to stop it from closing the healthcare center.
Brooklyn Health Partners, which wants to establish a temporary, 150-bed hospital while it builds a new 300–400-bed facility and 1,000 apartments on the medical campus, asked the state to consider bringing in a temporary hospital operator while the new owner gets its paperwork in order. The university refused, saying that the settlement that ended the nearly year-long court battle over the hospital’s fate absolves it of any responsibility for what happens to the hospital after May 22.
Headed by real estate developer and former clinical laboratory supervisor Merrell Schexnydre, Brooklyn Health Partners is conducting its own search for a temporary operator and looking at ways to expedite the permitting process, according to the state letter. But the state’s prognosis about whether any of these measures will save the hospital from closure is negative.
Brooklyn Health Partners has pledge to employ Long Island College Hospital staffers at a temporary facility, but everybody currently working there is getting a pink slip soon, the state said.
Schexnydre did not respond to a request for comment.