By Raanan Geberer
With a backdrop of threats to SUNY institutions and dire predictions, a revised proposal to purchase Long Island College Hospital (LICH) that now includes two well-respected health institutions was displayed at a SUNY Board of Trustees meeting on Monday.
The original proposal, submitted by Fortis Property Group, would have leased the hospital’s main building to ProHealth for a “medical mall” and developed the other LICH buildings as condos.
In the revised proposal, Fortis would partner with NYU Langone Medical Center and Brooklyn’s own Lutheran Medical Center.
NYU, according to a chart displayed at the meeting, would provide a freestanding emergency room, an urgent care center, a radiology and diagnostic center and six specialty centers: primary care, cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonary, orthopedics, physiatry and cancer care.
Lutheran would provide dental health, primary care and behavioral health.
One of the official speakers at the meeting said that LICH, which has been administered by SUNY Downstate since 2011, is now $300 million in the red, and is losing $13 million every month.
Although the claim has been made that continued operation of LICH would endanger the financial health of the main SUNY Downstate hospital in East Flatbush, the speaker now said that it would also financially endanger the state university system itself.
If the process of SUNY divesting itself of LICH doesn’t move forward, he said, the SUNY system may have to raise tuition, scale back offerings at several upstate “technical colleges” like Oneonta, Geneseo and several others. It could even mean closing campuses, he said.
In a related matter, Carl McCall, chair of the SUNY Board of Trustees, asked about the reported Brooklyn Hospital Center BID for LICH, a development that was reported in this newspaper. “I only heard about it in the press,” he said.
A representative of LICH answered that because Brooklyn Hospital Center’s bid wasn’t submitted within the official timeline, to consider this RFP would “start the clock” over again, and would thus not be feasible.
LICH nurses, caregivers, and patients are holding a brief speakout Tuesday morning in front of the hospital before getting on the bus to Albany for the second day in a row. The busload of healthcare advocates will deliver 18,000 petition signatures to SUNY trustees, calling on them to keep LICH open as a full-service hospital.
Keep checking brooklyneagle.com for more updates.