Cuomo Administration to LICH: Drop Dead

A decision by officials in Governor Cuomo’s administration to delay release of funds needed to finance the merger of Long Island College Hospital with SUNY Downstate Medical Center may have doomed the local health care facility, which could be forced to shut down next month.

New York Times: A struggling Brooklyn hospital is making plans to shut down in March after a decision by the Cuomo administration to delay grants to help finance a merger intended to rescue the institution, officials said on Wednesday.

The hospital, Long Island College Hospital, on the border of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, announced in October that it was merging with SUNY Downstate Medical Center, a major public university and medical center, as part of a deal put together last fall by former Gov. David A. Paterson and state health officials.

According to the Times story, Stanley Brezenoff, chairman of Continuum Health Partners, which now manages LICH, said the hospital is “running on fumes” and doesn’t have enough cash to last through next month.

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  • nabeguy

    This is not good news. However, people have been dropping dead at LICH for years, so at least the headline makes sense.
    Not to sound like a snob or anything, but given the economic demographics of the neighborhoods that surround this hospital, I’ve never understood why it is such a financial disaster. Bad management, perhaps? When my daughter needed an emergency appendectomy, our local pediatrician (who had formally been allied to LICH) sent us to St. Luke’s in the city. What an incredible difference…immediate attention, caring nurses/interns/surgeons, clean facilities, state of the art technology etc. In other words, everything you would expect from a first-class medical facility.

  • Andrew Porter

    As I’ve related here before, I was due to have a major operation there but bailed when I went in to talk to the surgeon, who had a giant water stain going down the wall of his office, in a building which it turned out had unoccupied floors, including a top floor operating theater from the 1800s. Not a facility that induced reassurance.

  • forkuu

    though i cant stand cuomo i agree with this move. this has been a rotten hospital for a long time even before the area improved an a merger with suny down state would be just as bad. that just another lousy uncaring system . i say bring back st vincents !!

  • JM

    I understand the comments above. Luckily they both had time to schedule/select a hospital facility. What does someone in this rather large group of neighborhoods do when they need the kind of emergency immediate care where a matter of minutes traveling to another hospital (which would be where? Park Slope? Maimonides or the city?) would cost you your life. I’m thinkng of heart attack, severe asthma, etc…
    Will this entire region have to exist without an emergency care facility within a reasonable (safe) distance, and why, is question #1 for our local and state officials.

  • EHinBH

    This place has been horrid for years. With some of the best hospitals in the country just a taxi/subway ride away, there is no need for it.

    Too bad we can’t knock it down and plant some grass.

  • x

    BTW, the LICH operating room is on the 2nd floor, NOT the top floor of the hospital.

    Not sure what surgeon you were going to.

    All NYC hospitals are not ideal and they are all over a hundred years old. Surprise surprise.

    It’s not the facility but the staff that makes the hospital. I used to work at LICH and other hospitals in NYC.

  • x

    It is Continuum Health Partners that is to blame for LICH’s down fall.

    They focused all their resources to their hospitals in Manhattan, Beth Israel and St Lukes/Roosevelt, and neglected their little community hospital in Brooklyn for years.

    That was the problem and now they are ready to kill off LICH, right before its merger to SUNY Downstate.

  • George Earl

    Okay, fellow Heights neighbors. Your sometimes-articulate complaints about LICH are being heard. And I do agree that it’s not the type you’d see on popular TV sit-coms. However, have you ever been willing to shell out a bit more than usual to kept it up to date? Or is it assumed that just because your company (or your country) provide you with a “health insurance” card you can pick up your cell phone and get Hollywood help right there, willing and able? No, I realize that the socio-economic surroundings of LICH call for a bit more. But if an emergency room is as close as it currently is, shouldn’t we be a bit grateful? All that will happen if LICH closes is a longer wait for emergency ambulances. Just what “A-number-one” hospitals are anywhere near us in Brooklyn Heights or Cobble Hill?

  • x

    Btw, I don’t think ANY of the other Brooklyn hospitals are better than LICH.

    You guys are welcome to go to Bellvue and see all the pleasant patients in their emergency room every Friday/Saturday night.

    Cuomo better wake up and help salvage this hospital. The merger with SUNY will help renovate LICH’s image, after YEARS of NEGLECT under Continuum (who favored Manhattan over Brooklyn).

  • Nancy

    It will be a terrible blow for the neighborhood to lose LICH. This isn’t a restaurant where we have the ability to pick and choose. If you have a heart attack do you want to get stuck in traffice on the Brooklyn Bridge waiting to get into the City? Or do we really want to go to Brooklyn Hospital?? Let SUNY Downstate take them over and run them right!

  • JM

    To EHinBH…”With some of the best hospitals in the country just a taxi/subway ride away, there is no need for it. Too bad we can’t knock it down and plant some grass”.
    WOW great idea…I wonder how you’d feel about it if you were having a heart attack or some time sensitive medical emergency, and were told to just hop on the subway or grab a cab,and go to one of the “great hospitals” somewhere further? Better yet…you could just be dropped off on some lovely green space and tough it out. Wait! That’s it..Our new gotta pay for itself “public” waterfront park could set up triage tents and charge for emergency room services (with a view of Manhattan and concessions too!). That would totally take care of that problem too!. Thanks!!

  • Bob Stone

    LICH has been mismanaged and starved by Continuum for the entire sad history of its involvement. (Reminder: the disappeared Othmer $100M.) This hospital is an essential part of the fabric of the Cobble Hill/Brooklyn Heights communities. It’s still the best and quickest place to get to in an emergency (which even the wealthy have). We won’t lose just its busy ER and faculty practices, but what about the local businesses that will disappear if the hospital workforce leaves? Even those who wouldn’t want to admit even setting foot in LICH (my family and I have used it literall dozens of times since the 1960’s) will be affected in ways which we can’t begin to predict.

    In the face of determined community and political opposition, together with enormously skillful negotiation by remarkable community members and others, Brezenoff and his gang, who were alleged to prefer residential development of the site, gave in, and the SUNY purchase resulted. The same coalition has to reorganize and let the Governor know that LICH is essential to our communities, which include Boerum Hill, Red Hook, and Carroll Gardens, as well as the Cobble Hill and the Heights.

  • T.K. Small

    I am utterly amazed at the shortsightedness of the politicians and members of our community that do not appreciate that LICH is a terribly important resource. Just last year, my father’s life was saved for the third time at that hospital.

    As I recall, there was never an adequate explanation as to what happened to the very substantial money (roughly 160 million) that was diverted after LICH joined Continuum. I guess later today I will be writing a letter to AG Schneiderman.

  • Nancy

    T.K. Please post the address of the Attorney General and I will do the same

  • T.K. Small

    NYS AG offices

    Office of the Attorney General
    The Capitol
    Albany, NY 12224-0341


    Office of the Attorney General
    120 Broadway
    New York City, NY
    (212) 416-8000

    Brooklyn regional office address:
    55 Hanson Place
    Suite 1080
    Brooklyn, NY 11217

    Gen. website info:

    Charities Bureau website:

  • Christi

    In support of LICH..I, unfortunately, have had an emergency and luckily had LiCH just down the street….It was a blessing. I also had the need to take a friend and fellow neihbor there as well. We were both treated with care. If, however, I had the opportunity, as I have had in past, to schedule needed surgery, I would use the hospital that my specialists are associated with which probably would not be LICH.
    None the less, short sightedness should not get in the way of the real need to have this hospital close at hand. And, it does need better funding as it has lost out to Beth Israel in Manhattan (a hospital, by the way, that I would not use)
    We must petition the govenor to preserve this facilty for our neighborhood.

  • val

    I’ve had four surgeries at LICH. My daughter has had one. My husband has had two. ALL if our experiences were positive. The loss of LICH is a tragedy for our neighborhood.

  • sky

    They need to get rid of senior leadership and start over! Otherwise they deserve to close! The place is a mess!

  • Baddog

    LICH was a money pit, maybe it is time to end this before the state throws good money after bad.

  • x


    It is the mismanagement from Continuum that has to end. Let SUNY Downstate take it over and treat it properly instead of the money leeching that Continuum did to this Brooklyn hospital.

  • Buddy Holly

    Is health care a right, or a privilege? Should hospitals be run by profiteers, or the governance of the community? Call me a socialist if you will, but I believe the community should run the health care industry, not the insurance companies or capitalists inflating costs for their benefit and profit. People are dying over this issue. Save LICH.

  • cat

    EHinBH, if you have a medical emergency, the ambulance will not take you out of the borough of B’lyn. You likely will not end up in one of the best hospitals in the country, but in some other hospital in B’lyn.

    You can choose where to go when you have planned medical needs, but not in an emergency.

    Just sayin’.

  • sky

    There is obviously something wrong with the way LICH is managed. It can’t all be the fault of Continuum. Brooklyn Hospital, Metthodist, Lutheran all seem to do ok financially – why not LICH? It deserves to close.

  • Cobble Hill is in the House

    On the other hand, on street parking in Cobble Hill should be easier once all the employees and visitors are gone. There’s always a positive side to everything.

    On the negative, what will happen to the two great parks on Henry Street, by Amity and Pacific Streets, which LICH operates and maintains pursuant to a written operations and maintenance agreement dated as of July 16, 1993, which obligates LICH to maintain the two parks in perpetuity? What entity will take over to make sure the land remains accessible as a park and doesn’t revert to parking spaces (see the NY Times article I note that one of the playground was just recently renovated after substantial community effort to get LICH to fix dangerous and broken playground equipment.

    Also, who gets access (and revenues from) the monstrous parking garage that was built on former park land via the park for land swap in the early 1990s (shades of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Tobacco warehouse brouhaha)? These are major issues notwithstanding the prior posts regarding health issues. For those of you who were not around back then, these issues resulted in MAJOR litigation among the various neighborhood groups.

  • T.K. Small

    @Sky: If anyone in the Brooklyn Heights area has a medical emergency, going to the hospitals that you mention would easily take twice as long to get treatment. Heart attacks, strokes and asthma are all extremely time sensitive medical conditions.

  • x

    I believe Brooklyn Hospital will be the next closest hospital to Brooklyn Heights area, unless the ambulance crosses the bridge to Downtown hospital, which is unlikely.

  • Ben

    My neighbors and I here in Brooklyn Heights go out to Nassau County the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health Care System with all health issues that are NOT emergencys to avoid the entire NYC hospital system – except Columbia Presbyterian that is an excellent hospital. Both of my children were born in Manhasset and the care was excellent.

    The great divide in health care is marked by the Cross Island Parkway anyone gets much better care out of NYC. I have heard lots of bad expereinces at LICH and at other Continum Health hospitals.

    Would someone tell me what happened to the Othmer Grant all that money?

    LICH is a dump.

    All winter I fear falling down to break a bone and end up in a dump like LICH those Continum Health Partners bastards should be hung out to dry they have runined LICH.

  • sky

    @TK – You’re right. Hiowever, LICH is not a designated Trauma Center. So for severe trauma emergencies I THINK people from The Heights would be taken to Lutheran or Bellevue? But I’m not 100% sure.

    I still think LICH should close its doors and we should support Brooklyn Hospital Center. I don’t know anyone in the nabe that used LICH anyway. Where do the young Heights and Cobble Hill women have their babies??? I can guarantee you NOT LICH!

  • T.K. Small

    @Sky: I am not sure whether having a serious cardiac event qualifies as “trauma”, but last year my father was taken to LICH. Also, on this website there was an extensive report of a serious car crash, in which the driver, who ultimately died, was taken to LICH. By any definition or designation, a car crash is an example of trauma.

    In terms of local people giving birth there, that is where my niece was born almost 3 years ago. Everything worked out well and my sister and brother-in-law were very satisfied.

  • Claude Scales

    My daughter was born at LICH; admittedly, 17 years ago. When my wife started having contractions, I offered to call a car service, but she said, “No, I want to walk.” So, walk we did, from Montague Street to the hospital, where her doctor asked how frequent the contractions were happening. “Once every block”, she said. He asked if these were long east-west or short north-south blocks. “The short ones”, she answered. “OK,” he said, “you’d better stay.”