STATEMENT RE: TODAY’S LONG ISLAND COLLEGE HOSPITAL DEVELOPMENTS

JEFF STRABONE
BOARD MEMBER, COBBLE HILL ASSOCIATION


The LICH community expects the future LICH to change but not to change from a hospital into something that cannot be called a hospital. The number of certified beds at LICH has been higher than the number of staffed beds for over a decade: that is one area where change would be welcome. When politicians talk of ‘transforming’ LICH while carefully avoiding the word ‘hospital’, the community begins to doubt their intentions.

Last summer I went to jail alongside Bill de Blasio fighting to keep LICH open as a hospital. I was proud to support candidate de Blasio’s call for a moratorium on hospital closings. But let’s be clear: when a hospital becomes something that is not a hospital, that means a hospital has closed. The H in LICH stands for Hospital. It doesn’t stand for Band-Aid Central or for a bogus ‘free-standing’ ER.

When SUNY and Governor Cuomo say there’s a surplus of hospital beds in Brooklyn, they’re using false numbers based on a bogus counting methodology. The trick of relying on certified beds versus staffed beds exaggerates the number of actual beds. This has been proven by the report of the Committee of Interns and Residents of SEIU Healthcare and has been widely reported by the media. (See links at bottom.)

The six community groups in the LICH litigation have crafted an RFP counter-proposal that is workable, careful, and positive. Even if in the end no hospital operator comes forward, it is the best shot  to save lives. Intsead of reading our counter-proposal, SUNY announced last week that it was still restricting consideration to its favored respondents from the first round of its rigged RFP.

We stand with our courageous elected officials in calling for a new, untainted RFP process to determine LICH’s future: Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and City Council Members Brad Lander, Steve Levin, and Carlos Menchaca.

Commissioner Shah’s statement today that LICH would not be eligible for funds from the $10 billion Medicaid waiver proves his bad faith. His argument that LICH lacks a plan to reduce admissions flies in the face of the State’s argument that LICH is an empty hospital that no one goes to. Either LICH has too many admissions or too few: the State cannot argue both at the same time.

Finally:
As for Fortis’s offer of affordable housing at LICH, that is a trick that has been played one too many times in Brooklyn where we are still waiting for the affordable housing to be built at Atlantic Yards. Brooklyn will not be fooled by billionaires who dangle affordable housing promises in the face of our demands for health care.

Jeff Strabone
Cobble Hill Association

Link to the CIR report:
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/sites/default/files/CIR%20MRT%20Brooklyn%20Methodological%20Problems%20%281%29.pdf

Reporting on bed counts:
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/01/8539533/dueling-numbers-battle-over-lich
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/suny-trustees-vote-pulling-plug-lich-article-1.1247221

  • Anonymous

    GREAT RESPONSE! Thank you! I'm so disappointed in Mayor deBlasio who was elected on the issues of stop&frisk, pre-k, & HOSPITALS. It seems all he talks about now is the first 2… & how to eat pizza INSTEAD OF saving our hospitals. What happened to the moratorium on closures? LICH doesnt need a plan to downsize, it ALREADY has downsized & reduced admissions. Governor Cuomo needs to stop playing with our lives & Bill DeBlasio needs to remember where he came from & the campaign promises he made.