New Plan to Buy LICH Preserves Some Health Services

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A real estate developer is proposing to buy the financially struggling Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, and turn at least part of it into a scaled-down medical facility with the help of New York University.

The proposal, from Fortis Property Group and NYU Langone Medical Center, comes less than a month after the State University of New York rejected a plan to turn the hospital complex into condominiums.

Officials from SUNY, which owns the Cobble Hill hospital, revealed details of the new proposal at a board of trustees meeting Monday in Albany.

Lora Lefebvre, the associate vice chancellor for house affairs at SUNY, said that according to the latest proposal, NYU Langone would operate a free-standing emergency department and an urgent care center at the existing site, as well as offering primary care services. She said the proposal calls for hiring union personnel.

Crain's New York reported that Fortis had been behind the earlier condo plan and still planned to include housing in the latest version. But SUNY officials did confirm those details Monday when asked.

One trustee called LICH's financial losses — about $13 million a month, according to SUNY — a "dismal situation." But the trustees did not move to vote on the proposal. 

Lefebvre said that SUNY was not considering a competing offer from the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene because it did not conform to the formal bid process, and had materialized after SUNY's deadline had passed.

More than two dozen opponents of selling the hospital from the New York State Nursing Association attended the meeting. They said they were glad a vote has been postponed, but asserted that SUNY was not being transparent enough.

"It's still creating a crisis, manufacturing a crisis and attempting to solve it by monetizing the assets of the community hospital," said Herdley Hill, a staff nurse at LICH, "and not respecting the wishes of the community to have a full-service community hospital."

Hill said he hoped New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on keeping LICH open, will step in with another offer from the city. 

The trustees are meeting again Tuesday.