Community meeting with bidders Monday night
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The process of selling Long Island College Hospital (LICH) moved ahead over the weekend as long-time LICH supporters chose representatives to sit on a panel which will review proposals to buy the historic Cobble Hill hospital.
Members chosen by LICH’s advocates -- community groups, doctors and unions -- will have less than half of the final vote (49 percent of the technical evaluation subcommittee, which controls 70 percent of the overall vote). The State University of New York (SUNY) retains the controlling percentage. Still, the groups will play an influential role in judging how well proposals meet the criteria of the new Request for Proposals (RFP) issued last week. The new RFP, unlike previous versions, emphasizes keeping LICH open as a hospital, rather than selling it for development.
Those appointing the technical evaluation subcommittee members include NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, six community groups; Concerned Physicians of LICH; New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and 1199 SEIU healthcare workers union.
These same groups will be giving a presentation to interested bidders on Monday evening in Manhattan.
These groups were the litigants in several lawsuits fighting the State University of New York’s (SUNY’s) year-long attempts to close LICH and sell it to developers. An unusual deal worked out in state Supreme Court under Justice Johnny Lee Baynes gave the litigants a voice in the LICH sale and removed the legal uncertainty surrounding it.
On Friday, Public Advocate James said in a statement that she had appointed City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, representing Red Hook, to the technical review subcommittee.
Menchaca’s appointment fulfilled a commitment to make sure Red Hook’s health care needs were represented during the selection process. Red Hook was not originally represented among the six community groups, but the neighborhood, a federally designated health care shortage area, would be hard hit by LICH’s closure.
“This decision will ensure that the Red Hook community is guaranteed a seat at the table in deciding the next step for LICH, and as extensive a footprint as possible in determining the right kind of healthcare for the residents of Downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding communities,” Public Advocate James said. “I look forward to moving forth with a new and transparent process in determining the LICH’s future.”
Council Member Menchaca said in a statement that he was honored to represent Red Hook on the committee. “I thank Public Advocate Letitia James for her commitment to transparency and community participation,” he said. “Red Hook will now have a seat at the table, providing a strong voice for the unique healthcare needs of our community. I look forward to working with the other members of the committee to ensure that we have a hospital that provides the best possible care for the many neighborhoods that LICH serves.”
Public Advocate James also appointed Dr. Fred Hyde, a Clinical Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Dr. Hyde has served as chief executive of two non-profit hospitals (Aliquippa Community Hospital in Pennsylvania and Windham Hospital in Connecticut) and as the chief executive of an HMO. He has also worked as the vice president of a major university teaching hospital, director of a medical school faculty practice plan, and consulting manager of physician practices.
Dr. Hyde also testified, as an independent hospital expert hired by the American Federation of Teachers, about SUNY Downstate's Sustainability plan, including suggestions about what to do with LICH.
In a statement to the Brooklyn Eagle, Dr Hyde said, "I am for what Ms. James is for, the maximum health services to the community, and, believing that, know that Brooklyn does not have enough hospital capacity."
Concerned Physicians of LICH appointed Dr. John Romanelli as their voice on the panel. Dr. Romanelli, past president of the LICH medical staff, has been fighting for LICH’s survival since Continuum handed it off to SUNY, and all throughout SUNY’s year-long attempt to shut LICH down.
Representatives appointed by the other litigants against SUNY were expected to be announced soon.
Update: On March 12, the Brooklyn Borough President's Office confirmed that 1199SEIU health care workers union had chosen BP Eric Adams as their pick for the panel.
These appointees will have a 49 percent vote on the RFP “technical” committee, which will rate the quality and scope of hospital and medical services offered by the bidders for LICH. Medical services will count for 70 percent of the ultimate score.
SUNY retains control of the remaining vote on the technical committee, and of the financial committee, which counts for 30 percent of the ultimate score.
Designed with the input of the advocates for LICH, the new RFP is meant to attract bids from parties looking to operate LICH as a full-service hospital, and who can offer other services "consistent with the health needs of the community."
Responses offering a full-service hospital facility will receive more points. Proposals that include a teaching hospital or an affiliation with a teaching hospital will be ranked even higher.
Proposals that provide for the maintenance of some health care operations during the interim period between SUNY's withdrawal -- which could come as soon as May 7 -- and the implementation of the bidder's plan will also get extra points.
As Justice Baynes and others have emphasized, the new RFP process does not guarantee that LICH will remain a hospital. If no suitable bidders are found, the hospital may close.
Still, one group proposing a full service hospital already responded in the previous rounds of bidding, and other responders are said to be considering beefing up their proposals.
The community presentation, mandatory for interested bidders, takes place Monday at 5 p.m. at the SUNY College of Optometry, 33 West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Mandatory site visits take place Tuesday and Wednesday, March 4 and 5. Bidders have until March 19 at 3 p.m. to submit their best proposals. Evaluators will have until March 26 to consider and rank the proposals.
The complete RFP is posted online at http://www.suny.edu/hospitals/downstate/newrfp/
Updated March 5 to indicate the involvement of Public Advocate Jame's panel pick of Dr. Hyde with SUNY Downstate's Sustainability Plan.
Updated: On March 12, the Brooklyn Borough President's Office confirmed that 1199SEIU health care workers union had chosen BP Eric Adams as their pick for the technical panel.