LICH Calls for Citizen Support

LICH has asked that concerned citizens contact political officeholders whose influence would be helpful in getting New York State to release the funds needed to bring its merger with SUNY Downstate to fruition. A list of these officeholders, with contact information, and a list of talking points supplied by LICH, follows the jump.

List of officeholders:
Yvette D. Clarke, Member of Congress; (718) 287-1142;
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor; (518) 474-8390
Robert J. Duffy; Lieutenant Governor; (518) 474-8390
Letitia James; City Council Member; (718) 260-9191;
Hakeem Jeffries; State Assembly Member; (718) 569-0100;
Bradford Lander; City Council Member, (718) 499-1090;*
Stephen Levin; City Council Member; (718) 875-5200;
Marty Markowitz; Brooklyn Borough President, (718) 802-3700;
Joan L. Millman; State Assembly Member; (718) 246-4889;*
Velmanette Montgomery; State Senator; (718) 643-6140;
Felix W. Ortiz; State Assembly Member; (718) 492-6334;
John L. Sampson; State Senator; (718) 649-7653;
Chuck Schumer; U.S. Senator; (212) 486-4430;
Daniel L. Squadron; State Senator; (212) 298-5565;*
Edolphus Towns; Member of Congress; (718) 235-8018;
Nydia M. Velazquez; Member of Congress; (718) 599-3658;
*These officeholders have already declared support for LICH; however, communications from concerned citizens will be useful for them.

Talking points:

-Many of you have read or heard media reports that the proposed merger with SUNY Downstate is threatened. Everyone involved in the negotiations – SUNY, LICH, Continuum and the community – remain hopeful that the merger will go through.
-We have made clear to the State Department of Health and to the Governor’s Office that Long Island College Hospital is a valuable resource to the residents of Brooklyn, and that its closure would have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents.
-Over the past two years, our merger plan with SUNY Downstate was reviewed and approved by multiple State and federal agencies. The HEAL grants that were competitively awarded to LICH and to SUNY Downstate are essential to the merger moving to conclusion.
-All the Brooklyn politicians indicated their support as well.
-Former Gov. David Paterson came to LICH last October to announce a HEAL grant of $40 million to support the merger.
-All of the elected officials who came to that press conference agreed that day that the proposed merger will strengthen patient care in Brooklyn, the communities that are served by LICH and Downstate, and further Downstate’s educational mission. It also will save close to 2,500 jobs.
-This latest development by the Governor and DOH to reevaluate all pending HEAL grants poses a serious threat.

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  • EHinBH

    Let the place die…

  • Johnny

    yeah right, YOU are going to die if this is place does moron because you won’t have an hospital close enough

    just put a few neurons at work

  • Winstion Smith

    @ EHinBH, I’ll bet you voted for George Bush, both times.


  • Ari

    ^ BURN!

  • Andy

    Ignore the trolls: we need our community hospital, and now it needs our support. Man up or shut up.

  • Miky

    I assume that EH is joking, right?

    I have a kid, who might be quite ill or worse today if not for the good work of the LICH emergency room. I know that there are many parents who are similarly appreciative of LICH’s good work and proximity.

  • T.K. Small

    I really do not understand why people are so hostile towards saving LICH. If you are not comfortable with the hospital, fine. You have every right to take your medical problems somewhere else. But, I do not see why it is necessary to gleefully say that LICH should be shut down. Such a position is malicious and mean-spirited.

    Further, this argument that the hospital is “losing money” so it should be closed is ridiculous. This is just moving the problem to another hospital. Does anyone think that patients which have been going to LICH are miraculously going to get healthy and not need treatment? This is just kicking the can down the road.

    For people especially interested in healthcare policy, recently there was an interesting article in New Yorker Magazine:

  • Henry

    The point is the community, the city, the state and the nation are all drowning in debt and it is time to rethink what we as a society can and cannot afford. Yes, in a perfect world everyone should have immediate access to health care (and many other services too!). But we are not in a perfect world and the less efficient institutions must perish.

    Maybe it is time for LICH to be just a trauma center or something less than full service as others seem to do that losing fewer dollars delivering all the services that LICH does. Or maybe it is time for LICH to close down. I do not know the answer but to throw money at it just for the sake of its survival without a long term health solution for the entire borough/city/state seems foolish.

  • Karl Junkersfeld


    I always find it interesting when pure unadulterated capitalism is introduced as a prescription for health care, where the economically efficient survive and the weak perish. I have a deep appreciation for capitalism as an economic model. The problem is, it just doesn’t translate very well to health care.

    Unfortunately, in the case of health care, we are talking about peoples lives. Literally. Having a business fail due to insufficient financial resources is one thing but having an individual die because of lack of economic means is unacceptable to many of us who consider ourselves human beings. There is a good reason that many, of the industrialized countries, have adopted universal health care.

    Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France ,Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom to name a few.

    To argue for pure capitalism in a system that is serving over 40 million plus individuals who are having their bills paid by the government either through medicare or medicaid is ludicrous IMHO.

  • x

    If one Brooklyn hospital goes down, we will have to wait MUCH longer in another hospital’s ER, whether that is Brooklyn Hospital or Lutheran or Methodist Hospital.

    Prepare to wait over 12 hours to get seen by a physician on a busy night.

  • nabeguy

    Here, here, Karl.

  • AEB

    Well said, Karl! Thanks!

  • Henry


    I am not trying to introduce capitalism to health care, just some rationality. Health care is scarce resource; how should it best be delivered to the population? Should every facility attempt to deliver all possible services or should there be some type of system feeding cases to specialized centers.


  • Karl Junkersfeld

    It’s funny Henry, I was an economics major as an undergrad and have an MBA in finance and your posts are loaded with capitalistic terms. Using a term like scarce resource immediately invokes the notion of rationing.

    My point was that this is not where the discussion should begin. Health care should be a citizen’s right. The question is how to pay for it. Everyone agrees that costs are through the roof. Obviously the health care industry loves to limit supply of doctors to the bare minimum to restrict supply to drive cost up, cost of supplies and pharmaceuticals, malpractice suits etc. We all know what has to be done but powerful special interest have a stranglehold on this industry. Very similar to the financial industry, as well as, many other industries in America. Damn, I’m starting to sound like a West Side liberal.

    Not sure what the solution is but closing hospitals that are integral to a neighborhoods health is not the answer IMHO. As long as we have major parts of the population uninsured or on medicaid, we are going to have unprofitable hospitals. Is this an argument for mandatory health insurance? You bet. Will the Supreme court rule this as unconstitutional? Can you add 5-4=9.

    Talking economics, can you imagine the economic impact this closing would have on the immediate surroundings? Hibino, my favorite Japanese restaurant depends on this hospital facility for customers. Granted, this is not a reason to keep it open but surely a consequence.

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    May I add one other major cost safer for hospitals, productivity. Their computer systems are so antiquated it is unbelievable. Not just paper intensive but each hospital and doctors office has its own technology which doesn’t speak the same language as other hospital facilities. It is ridiculous.

    This is my last post for the remainder of the weekend. I’m getting carried away.

  • Doug Biviano

    Double Here Here Karl.

    Ten points to chew on:

    1. Don’t forget how Continuum Partners and Stanley Brezenoff ran this hospital into the ground and massive operating deficits on paper in order to shutter it and turn it into condos because it was sitting on half billion dollars worth of real estate development during the bubble. Continuum already had architectural plans for many of the properties before they first proposed closing years ago — REALLY? That’s not healthcare management services — it’s corruption. How do you take over an entity? By controlling the board and that’s exactly what Continuum did. This is a RICO racketeering case more than anything and the local Brooklyn board who relinquished control to Continuum’s hand picked “shared Manhattan board” ought to be investigated too.

    2. Don’t forget that LICH was given an $140 million philanthropic gift in 1992 not long before Continuum took control. Where did it go? Get Continuum’s books. Brezenoff almost stormed out of the community board meeting a few years ago when I asked him how much his compensation was while LICH was supposedly drowning.

    3. The sum of the parts is still worth more than the whole. On paper LICH probably owes Continuum tens of millions in services. Let me emphasize again ON PAPER with all sorts of IT, billing, consultation fees and perhaps questionable unknown third party billings. If Continuum is allowed to close the doors, they will sell off the real estate and get away with a real life Gordon Gecko Blue Star Airlines.

    4. Cuomo will take the blame for the opportunity Continuum has been planning for a very long time. The NY Times article quotes Brezenoff freely, never once raising the well known controversy of him cooking the books for real estate greed

    5. In March at the town hall meeting at Borough Hall, I asked Gov. Paterson about Medicare for All and he explained how a simple change in the FMAP formula by the Feds would save the budget for NY State and the other states in the red, our healthcare system, and keep hospitals like LICH open. It would cost about $90 Billion a year for the feds — WAY LESS than the amount the TRILLION dollar MILITARY BUDGET has risen in just the last few years alone. Paterson said, “There I just solved the entire budget problem for every state in the nation,” and he was not quoted by a single news paper on the matter because they had their baseball ticket scandal stories already written. When the NY Times reporter, Jeremy Peters, called me to verify my name to ultimately quote me out of context, I banged him over the head him to quote Paterson’s very profound statement… Ultimately, our hospitals are not nearly broken as our journalism and federal government.

    6. Universal healthcare would make the US economy and especially NY’s more competitive considering the higher cost structures businesses face in NYC.
    7. Obamacare is not universal care and does not fix the problem many hospitals face: by law must treat everyone, many don’t have health insurance, most insurance companies don’t pay the hospitals what they owe, and like TK Smalls post our lack of a good preventative care system results in super users.

    8. Obamacare locks 15 to 20% overhead/profit cut for insurance companies, i.e. that’s $500 billion pocketed every year by insurance companies instead of going to medical treatment. This is more than enough to save not only all the hospitals that have closed in NYC but all in the nation. Compare this to I believe the1 to 2% that goes to litigation and it becomes clear that health insurance companies are a problem one order of magnitude greater.

    9. If you or your child has an emergency at Rush Hour you may die without LICH.

    10. An institution like LICH takes over a century and millions of man-hours, vision and philanthropic goodwill to build. Hospitals are miracles of mankind. LICH can be dismantled in the blink of an eye and it will never come back. Be careful what you wish for.

    Watch the panel of four experts who talk about universal healthcare in the Healthcare Uncovered forum I did as a City Council candidate. There were five parts, but for some reason only four of the five remain. A LICH doctor talks about the billing games insurance companies play:

  • sandy

    The hospital is a losing entity.. delivering very poor care.. we do not need the beds… we need a state of the art modern facility delivering high level care… saving it is not the answer .. rethinking it is

  • sandy

    if you or your child has an emergency at rush hour you may die with LICH.. we need emergency services but not those

  • David on Middagh

    @Doug Biviano: Points 1 through 5? Am I missing something there?

    Re: point 7: should read “does not fix”, I think.

    Re: point 8: If $500B = 20%, then we spend $2.5 *trillion* a year on medical care in this country. That’s about $8,000/year for every man, woman, and child. Can that be right?

  • David on Middagh

    Oh, there are 1 to 5–added while I was composing my reply to 6-10. Thank you for these postings.

  • Doug Biviano

    Sorry David, I was having trouble posting because of size and it got chopped up and out of order. It should be all there now.

    As for Point 8, until Obamacare kicks in, the “medical loss ratio” as they call it currently ranges from 15 % from the better health insurance companies to over 35% with some of the more profit driven ones so don’t use the 20% in your calculations just yet. Some companies literally sniff their database for “super users” and terminate their policies as soon as they have an administrative reason.

    And yes the industry is over $2 trillion per year in the US. There is no doubt we have to get this under control. Universal healthcare is the first step with universal preventative care and access before one becomes a chronic super user a good start. Their are other cost drivers too but we’ll save that for another day.

    The focus needs to be that we are bleeding hospitals for all the wrong reasons and we must save LICH before we pass the point of no return.

  • Doug Biviano

    yes point 7 should read “does not fix”

  • Miky

    I don’t know if Sandy is speaking from personal experience or not. I wish to repeat that LICH has on two occasions delivered superb emergency care to my son. And a quick review of any of the popular parenting websites in the neighborhood will reveal that many, many parents have had similar experiences there.

  • Doug Biviano

    btw, Medicare has like a 3% Medical Loss Ratio, meaning 97% of the expenditures go to treating patients i.e paid to actual healthcare providers not profit and overhead.

    It cuts out the middle man. Much more efficient.

    This is an example where private industry is the real waste and not the government. But the lobbyists legally protect the waste via a corrupt political system.

    Obama got big early money from the industry in 2007/2008 which is the most important money in gaining momentum, allowing him to take on Hillary Clinton. Clinton had even more early money from the industry. They both had over $2 million in January 2008 from the healthcare industry when they were both at about the $80 million total raised mark.

  • bornhere

    As long as more of our healthcare dollars go to insurance company and hospital administrators, CEOs, etc, than go to the surgeons, nurses, and support personnel who actually endeavor to improve and save lives, our entire healthcare delivery system will continue to deteriorate.
    The LICH “plant” is a disaster, many of the staff (from docs to maintenance) have no business being anywhere near a human in need, and other staff deserve to work in an environment that more closely reflects their skill and caring. There would be less debate here, I think, if our healthcare dollars went first to those who actually affect the remedying of illness and injury.
    Closing LICH could be disastrous in an emergency, at least — waiting for an ambulance to arrive from Brooklyn or Methodist or Lutheran or wherever in a true emergency could be a life-ending wait; but the current state at LICH will never engender enough confidence for many to seek treatment by their admitting physicians, which is the first step in increasing use and commitment. I would bet that a lot of us have primary care/specialist docs in Manhattan because of the abysmal reputation of LICH. It is scandalous that downtown Brooklyn does not have a world-class facility: the population and need are huge.
    And, on a more philosophical note, I echo the support of universal care.

  • Doug Biviano

    It seems to me that the merger with Downstate is the ticket to improving LICH, not to mention it is a vital teaching hospital feeding Brooklyn doctors needed throughout the borough.

    Also, there are plans, from what I understand, to create a Brooklyn Children’s Hospital within the campus in the five to ten year horizon.

    Vision is more of what LICH needs, not vitriol. Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face.

    And has anyone considered all the long term growth slated for downtown Brooklyn? Including the huge luxury condos to be built at it’s door step? DUMBO rezoning? Gowanus, Red Hook and Fourth Ave.? Atlantic Yards? And the BB Park with thousands of daily visitors? All the added congestion?

  • Mike
  • Monty

    Doug, does the NY City Council have the authority to extend Medicare to the whole country? Listing out technical details is great, but the challenge is how to shout louder than the FOX talking heads who decry a beneficial if timid bit of legislation like Obamacare as tantamount to Stalinism.

  • T.K. Small

    @Karl: Thank you for your comments. Although we have had our disagreements in the past, I very much appreciate your statement, especially coming from the financial community. When one watches CNBC, there are so many “Ayn Rand inspired/all government is bad” types, it is easy to get a little bit discouraged.