Downstate's president points to LICH
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), citing an “egregious catastrophic event,” has placed SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s residency program on probation, SUNY Downstate’s President Dr. John Williams said a meeting of the SUNY Downstate Council on July 15.
Dr. Williams said Downstate’s accreditation was placed on probation “as a result of the departure of physicians at Long Island College Hospital (LICH),” adding that Downstate had “one license for two programs. It’s a direct result of what’s going on at LICH.”
Downstate, in East Flatbush, ended its residency program at LICH earlier this summer.
Williams said that Downstate was obligated to post the news on the Medical Center’s website, “and we have to let applicants know we’re on probation.
“We have the right to appeal within 30 days,” he said. “We’ve had one set of meetings with the associate deans and program directors to put a response together.”
Downstate spokesperson Robert Bellafiore told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday that ACGME placed Downstate on probation after a site visit in late May, adding he was not sure what prompted the visit.
“If a medical school loses its accreditation, it’s serious trouble,” Bellafiore said. “Downstate is the only medical school in Brooklyn; we educate one-third of the doctors in Brooklyn and one-ninth of the doctors in New York City.”
Bellafiore said the school was still going through the process of figuring out what to do. “The medical school has the letter under review and is developing a point by point response,” he said.
Despite a court restraining order, Downstate has barred ambulances from LICH's emergency room, closed core departments and prohibited new admissions.
Last week, 18 people were arrested at rallies protesting LICH’s closure, including nurses, hospital staff, City Council Member Stephen Levin, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Assemblywoman Joan Millman.
While Downstate says it can't afford to keep LICH open, de Blasio and other LICH supporters have charged that the closure of the hospital is “a big real estate deal” for SUNY, which would stand to make up to $1 billion from the sale of the property.