SUNY hosts town hall about LICH’s future
by Andrew Pavia
May 22, 2013 | 995 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After the Brooklyn community prevented SUNY Downstate from permanently shutting the doors on Long Island College Hospital, it became clear the future of the hospital was anything but clear.

Representatives from the Cobble Hill Association hosted a meeting with elected officials earlier this month in an attempt to get a better understanding on plans regarding LICH.

Given the confusion, SUNY hosted a town hall meeting on Monday at their Downstate medical campus at 395 Lenox Road in Prospect Lefferts Garden.

On May 1, SUNY announced that it would be withdrawing its proposal to close the 150-year-old Cobble Hill medical facility due to financial troubles SUNY had been experiencing since it acquired the hospital a few years ago.

A sustainability plan is due to the State Department of Health and the Governor’s Division of the Budget by June 1 and will be implement beginning June 15.

During a presentation at the town hall meeting, representatives said SUNY will develop a partnership with existing Brooklyn providers to “assume clinical service lines and provide meaningful and consistent slots for medical students and residents.”

While SUNY is looking for a solution, representatives were clear with the community that the financial issues surrounding LICH are not going away.

“The financial conditions of LICH remain unchanged,” said Downstate President Dr. John Williams, Jr. “LICH’s continued financial losses still threaten the viability of Downstate Medical and our world-renowned medical school.”

SUNY has taken steps to move its facilities in the right direction. Along with replacing failed leadership with Dr. Williams, SUNY has engaged management consultants to assess and implement a restructuring plan.

“The only ingredient that we are missing at LICH is a committed management operation,” said Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association, at the meeting. “First you have to listen to the community and provide services that are needed in our community.”

Many have placed the blame not with LICH, but rather with the management and staff of SUNY for financial missteps.

“According to the concerned physicians group, LICH had actually not been losing money for much of the past few months,” Sloane said. “But we don’t know that for sure because we don’t have any financial information.”

Joseph Scarmato, principal of High School for Medical Professionals in Canarsie which, said his school has benefitted from a partnership with LICH.

“One of the main attractions of our school is the partnerships with health care facilities, such as SUNY Downstate,” he said.

Last year, the school graduated its first class with 94 percent of the students earning a diploma. Scarmato said that it was the firsthand experience and collaboration with SUNY that helped make that happen.

“Just consider the ramifications of closing one of these hospitals,” Scarmato said. “I would implore you to consider supporting our students even though they are quite young, they are part of the community.”

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