Board met Wednesday to discuss future of facilities at Downstate and LICH
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The State University of New York's (SUNY) issued a public Request for Information (RFI) on Wednesday, to formally solicit interest from hospital operators or others to take over Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill.
SUNY's plan to close LICH was scuttled last Friday after months of protests, political and legal activism and media coverage. SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in dire financial condition, acquired LICH two years ago from Continuum Health Partners.
SUNY said in the RFI that they're looking for "hospital operators, healthcare providers, and qualified parties who could provide health care services, including operation of an acute care hospital, at or around the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site in Brooklyn."
While the health care facilities or services can be provided either "on the campus or in the community around" the hospital, the LICH campus should be developed "for beneficial community purposes that may support health care services in the community," according to the RFI.
In addition, the facility should provide "economic development in the neighborhood that may support health care services in the community," or "other creative purposes" benefiting the community. The entire RFI can be found at: http://www.suny.edu/hospitals/downstate/.
To update the community about these latest developments and discuss the future of LICH, the Cobble Hill Association is hosting a community forum on Thursday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. at LICH, 339 Hicks Street, Conference Room A. Attendees will also do a little celebrating, Cobble Hill Association (CHA) President Roy Sloane said
The SUNY Board of Trustees’ Hospitals Committee met Wednesday in Manhattan to put the finishing touches on the RFI and to develop a plan to keep afloat SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
SUNY is required by law to develop a sustainability plan for Downstate by June 1, and, with the approval of the New York Department of Health and the New York Office of Budget, to begin implementation on June 15, said SUNY spokesperson David Doyle.
“The plan will be a blueprint on how to meet the health care needs of the community in a financially viable way while also serving to protect Brooklyn’s only medical school,” Doyle told the Brooklyn Eagle Wednesday morning.
The committee meeting took place at the College of Optometry in Manhattan. The agenda for the meeting is available online at www.suny.edu/Board_of_Trustees/meetingNotices.cfm and a webcast will also be available.
Dr. John Williams, president of SUNY Downstate; and Lora Lefebvre, SUNY’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, were scheduled to address the LICH and Downstate issue.
Lefebvre’s focus is hospital finances and operations, according to SUNY. She previously served as deputy director of the NYS Department of Health’s Office of Health Systems Management.
Dr. Williams was hired by SUNY last August to lead Downstate through its financial restructuring.
Although the SUNY board voted to close LICH in March, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes issued a temporary restraining order on April 1 that barred the state from shutting down LICH pending a May 2 hearing.
On April 25, City Council members voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on SUNY and the Department of Health to work with stakeholders to find another operator for LICH –- or to plow any funds gained from the sale of the facility back into the neighborhoods served by LICH.
While LICH is located in Cobble Hill, it provides health services to a large swath of Brooklyn stretching from Red Hook to Williamsburg.
Story update at 3:52 with additional information about the RFI. Updated again at 12:19 a.m. to add a notice about Thursday's community forum.