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#SaveLICH News: Judge Orders Accounting From SUNY; Mediator Appointed

June 28, 2013

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Carolyn E. Demarest on Thursday ordered SUNY Downstate to present a full accounting of all LICH property, assets and funds transferred to Downstate, the income derived from the properties, details about the other LICH properties SUNY plans to dispose of and more, no later than August 5.

The Eagle article says “LICH’s money trail is murky at best.” It notes that LICH’s previous owner, Continuum Health Partners, with which SUNY contracted to handle LICH’s billing after the hospital’s sale, has been accused by LICH physicians and staff of failing to bill for many services performed after the sale. Judge Demarest’s order also requires SUNY to account for $15 million it withdrew from a fund last year that was supposed to be used exclusively to pay for LICH’s costs of operation.

In a related development, the Daily News reports that retired New York Supreme Court judge, former state senator, and city councilman William Thompson Sr., father of mayoral hopeful William Thompson, has been appointed by Judge Johnny Lee Baynes to act as a “mediator” in the dispute between LICH doctors and nurses and SUNY over SUNY’s attempt to close LICH.

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Health, News

SUNY To LICH – ‘Drop Dead’

June 19, 2013

Update: The Times reports that Judge Johnny Lee Baynes, who earlier issued a temporary restraining order against SUNY’s attempt to close LICH, today, in response to complaints that SUNY was denying LICH essential medical staff, ordered that SUNY “should maintain staffing on par with what it was before SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which operates it, first moved to close it earlier this year.” The Times article indicates that the LICH staff had been told that the ER could no longer accept patients brought by ambulance because the ER wasn’t sufficiently staffed to handle any other than walk in patients. The Times quotes Eliza Bates, a spokeswoman for the nurses’ association, as saying “the judge’s order should prevent that.”

Michelle Green of the NYS Nurses Association tells BHB:

Long Island College Hospital is open for care, and nurses, caregivers, and doctors continue to provide the very best care to Brooklyn patients. But SUNY appears intent on closing this vital Brooklyn hospital. We’re glad that Judge Baynes is taking SUNY’s actions—and the impact these actions could have on Brooklyn patients—very seriously. We will continue to do whatever it takes to keep LICH and all Brooklyn hospitals open for care.

BHB has obtained an email sent out by Dr. Tom Sorra, leader of the LICH Concerned Physicians group about the current situation:

I’m sending out a very brief update on the rapidly-developing situation at LICH –
a press release with more details will be forthcoming tomorrow, which I will send to all.

The attorneys for Concerned Physicians, NYSNA and 1199 were in court today and made a persuasive argument about SUNY/DMD’s violations of the previous TRO (restraining order) issued.
The court set a hearing for contempt and obliged SUNY/DMC to maintain staffing levels as they were in February 2013.

SUNY/DMC ignored the court order, and several hours later sent the following email to all LICH MD’s, which is clearly in violation of the court order – claiming that they are doing this because of “an unsafe situation with MD’s and staff leaving”.

This is a blatant lie!
There is no unsafe situation, and SUNY/DMC officials lies need to be exposed!

Concerned Physicians and other members of the LICH Coalition have been in meetings and on conference calls this evening to discuss this situation and will keep you all advised of developments as they occur.

Please call your elected officials, press and other contacts to spread the word –

the criminal actions of SUNY/DMC against LICH need to be stopped!

Toomas M. Sorra, MD
Concerned Physicians of LICH

Dear Medical Staff,
University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center continues to make good faith efforts to staff the Long Island College Hospital and maintain its patient services. Attempts to replace medical, nursing, and management staff have been on-going. However, we have not successfully recruited personnel for key vacancies, either through locum tenems or permanent recruitment. Due to the departure of critical staff that cannot be replaced in a timely manner, we are taking steps to ensure patient health, safety, and welfare. We cannot allow the public to have an expectation of services that are not possible for us to provide.

We request that you discuss other options for inpatient care and emergency services with your patients. The Central Brooklyn campus of University Hospital of Brooklyn will facilitate patient transfers should you choose to do so.

Emergency Services

To that end, the emergency room will not accept ambulance patients effective June 20, 2013 at 6:00 A.M. FDNY – EMS has been notified that the UHB Long Island College Hospital campus of SUNY Downstate will be on ambulance diversion for emergency room services. Walk in patients will receive medical screening and stabilizing treatment. If further care is needed, patients will be transferred to another area hospital. Patients using the EMS ambulance services will be taken to the nearest hospital with appropriate resources. Hospitals in Brooklyn have been notified of the diversion.

Please be assured that all efforts will be made to assist you in the transfer of patients to University Hospital or to the facility of the patients’ choice. Current inpatients will also be notified in writing and medical leadership will be available for further discussion. For further information and assistance, please call Mr. George Caralis at (718) 270-4293, Mr. Michael Miller at (718) 780-4651 or Dr. Michael Lucchesi at (347) 424-9084.

This dispatch in from a BHB reader:

As of tonight ambulances are not allowed to bring patients to LICH – the hospital is on permanent diversion. Is it closing?

While there’s no word on whether LICH is closing, sources confirm to BHB that SUNY has instructed EMT to not send patients to the hospital as of 6 AM tomorrow (6/20) morning.


Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Around Brooklyn

Contact Cuomo to Save LICH

June 12, 2013

The Brooklyn Heights Association urges us all to write, call, or e-mail (or all three) Governor Cuomo asking his help to save Long Island College Hospital. While acknowledging that there are allegedly seven suitors possibly interested in buying LICH, nevertheless:

SUNY Downstate has failed to turn over the LICH financial records parties have requested. Moreover, SUNY Downstate has made representations about LICH finances that are simply not true. Without open books, potential suitors cannot evaluate LICH’s economic viability — and there is no assurance that the disposition of LICH will be a fair one. SUNY Downstate’s actions have revived fears that its real goal is to sell the land to a real estate developer.

Instructions on how to contact the Governor are on the BHA website.

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web

Health, News

SUNY Sustainability Plan: Sell or Close LICH

May 30, 2013

SUNY has released its Sustainability Plan, which focuses on preserving its teaching function at University Hospital of Brooklyn while seeking to share or transfer health care responsibilities with or to other Brooklyn hospitals and clinics and to home health care, according to The Wall Street Journal:

The proposal doesn’t guarantee that LICH will remain open, although SUNY officials and a nurses union representative said potential operators had stepped up to take over the struggling Cobble Hill institution. A Wall Street Journal analysis of the plan estimates SUNY would need to spend nearly $130 million for the LICH transfer.

NY1 quotes SUNY Downstate President John Williams as saying they are “talking to…five institutions” that may have an interest in taking over management of LICH. According to an analysis of the Sustainability Plan prepared by the Cobble Hill Association, the first mention of LICH in the Plan occurs in a footnote that says:

SUNY will review all responses received to the request for information and determine the most expeditious and financially responsible course of action to enable Downstate to exit from the operation of the Long Island College Hospital facility.

The Plan must be reviewed by the State Department of Health, which may approve it or send it back for revision.

Update: Homer’s cousin/former Cobble Hill Ass’n prexy Jeff Strabone analyzes the plan here:

Breakdown of the Sustainability Plan

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Around Brooklyn

CHA Goes on Full Frontal Assault To #SaveLICH

April 1, 2013

Cobble Hill Association president Roy Sloane released a video today produced the the organization to raise awareness about the fight to save Long Island College Hospital.

In a letter to the press this morning he writes:

As you all all aware, SUNY Downstate is moving forward with it’s plans to close LICH to convert it’s real estate valued at $500 to $800 million into cash to prop up the immense loses at SUNY Downstate. Since the beginnIng of this crisis, I have asked every doctor, nurse, EMT, ambulance driver and paramedic this question: “Will people die?”

The answer from every single professional that I have asked is “Yes!” To dramatize this danger, the Cobble Hill Association has created a TV commercial called “LICH Two Minutes to Live” and will be launching our campaign on of thirty second spots on NEW YORK ONE this week.

This proposed closure of our hospital represents a grave danger for for all the nearly 1 million people who live, work, shop, and play in Downtown Brooklyn but most especially for the residents of the surrounding communities who depend on Long Island College Hospital for critical emergency care. Going further to get to another hospital spells disaster or death for many stroke, cardiac and accident victims.

The CHA provided two documents along with the video:

LICH-Seven Key Points Fact Sheet by info1139

LICH and SUNY Facts Provided by CHA (1)

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web

Around Brooklyn

Judge Rules SUNY Board Acted Illegally on LICH Closing

March 15, 2013

The Times reports that New York Supreme Court Justice Johnny Baynes, who earlier extended a temporary restraining order against SUNY’s shutdown of Long Island College Hospital, has ruled that the SUNY board acted in violation of New York State’s open meetings law, and vacated the board’s decision to close LICH. According to the Times:

The trustees’ use of a vague notice, a “skeletal statement of purpose in the written agenda,” and the timing of a two-hour closed executive session on Feb. 7, the day before the public vote, “seems intentionally designed to shield the purpose of the meetings from the general public and obstruct the transparency required by the Open Meetings Law,” the decision said, noting that the trustees “are not unsophisticated.”

The story also quotes a SUNY spokesman as saying that “the ruling hinges on a procedural technicality” and that “the board Would move swiftly to fix the problem.” If, as expected, the board again votes to close LICH, the plan must then be submitted to the State Department of Health, which could refuse to approve the closure, as it did a plan by LICH’s former owner, Continuum Health Partners, to close LICH’s obstetrics and pediatrics departments just over four years ago.

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web

Health, News

Court Puts Brakes On LICH Closure

February 21, 2013

According to this NY1 story, a court has issued a temporary restraining order that blocks SUNY Downstate from implementing its just issued plan to close Long Island College Hospital. The judge who issued the order has scheduled a further hearing for March 7. Petitioners in this case are unions representing nurses and hospital workers; however, the NY1 story also quotes a “local resident” who recently used the LICH emergency room as saying the care provided there was “really good.” This is a developing story; we will monitor and keep you updated.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Health, News

Denis Hamill on LICH: SUNY “is going to kill people.”

February 17, 2013

In a Daily News piece, “Long Island College Hospital merged to death”, Denis Hamill retells an ambulance driver’s account, told to Hamill at Thursday evening’s community forum, about picking up a man in cardiac arrest on Hamilton Avenue, administering first aid, taking an EKG that was forwarded to LICH electronically, and getting the patient to LICH where the doctors were able to open an artery to save him, all in an elapsed time of seven minutes. Had the ambulance had to fight traffic to get to Methodist Hospital in Park Slope or Lutheran in Sunset Park, the driver said, “My opinion, add another 12-15 minutes, he wouldn’t have made it.”

In Hamill’s words: “Make no mistake: Close LICH, and people of Red Hook, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights will die.”


Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web


Markowitz on LICH Closing: “A Serious Mistake”

February 8, 2013

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz testified before the Assembly Health Committee at Brooklyn Borough Hall today. Here’s the transcript of his testimony:

This morning’s unanimous vote by the board of SUNY Downstate to shut down LICH is simply unacceptable. Closing LICH jeopardizes the health and well-being of thousands of Brooklynites and will have serious effects on our economy.

LICH provides essential medical treatment for thousands of Brooklynites with chronic conditions and those seeking emergency care—without it, they will lose their lifeline.

Comptroller DiNapoli’s audit claims that LICH is underutilized, yet according to several reports, including a study by the New York Nurses Association, LICH averaged a 90 percent occupancy rate. And in 2010, LICH delivered more than 3,000 babies, and treated over 4,000 infants in its neo-natal unit and nearly 2,000 heart patients.

The statistics clearly show that LICH is not underutilized.

Furthermore, the New York Nurses Association also found that in 2012 there were well over 120,000 patient visits to LICH. Roughly 20 percent of those were emergency room visits, meaning without LICH, one out of every five patients would have had to go elsewhere, losing valuable time in the process. And in life threatening situations, every second counts.

And the hospital’s hard working staff has clearly proven their capabilities and dedication as they are essentially operating with half the required resources. The facility has been staffed and budgeted for no more than 250 beds, yet the hospital has more than 500 beds!

Sadly, these 2,000 dedicated doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are in danger of losing their jobs. Many of these employees live in Brooklyn, so closing LICH would have devastating economic consequences that would ripple across Brooklyn. And right now, the last thing we want to do is hurt our already fragile economy.

In the debate on LICH’s future, we cannot ignore the simple fact that the real estate value of the LICH property is estimated at $500 million dollars. It raises the serious concern that this hospital may be viewed more valuable closed than open. But whatever profits SUNY might gain from real estate will be more than offset by the loss in jobs and valuable medical service to our community.

It’s plain to see that closing LICH would be a serious mistake, so I call on SUNY’s board to rethink this rash decision and continue working to find alternative solutions that would ensure that Brooklynites do not lose critical medical services.

BHB file photo by Claude Scales

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, News

Daniel Squadron On LICH Closing: ‘Our Fight Isn’t Over’

February 8, 2013

State Senator Daniel Squadron has put up his dukes over Friday morning’s confirmation that Long Island College Hospital will be shuttered by the SUNY Board of Trustees and sold for real estate development.

In a statement, he insists: “Our fight isn’t over. As I said yesterday, SUNY’s plan essentially turns a $63 million state grant into a subsidy for a massive real estate deal that will cut essential services without any community benefit. It should be no surprise that our community and Brooklyn will feel looted with this result. DOH has an opportunity to ensure the needs of this community and all of Brooklyn are met—and that’s precisely what we will urge it to do.”

Squadron testified at Thursday’s public hearing, in which community leaders and locals bemoaned the closing of the 155-year-old facility, at 339 Hicks Street in Cobble Hill.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web