SUNY Board Unanimously Votes To Close LICH

Following Thursday’s pro forma public hearing, the SUNY Board, as expected, unanimously voted Friday morning to shutter Cobble Hill’s 155-year-old Long Island College Hospital, at 339 Hicks Street. BHB will watch for updates throughout the day…

UPDATE: 5 p.m.: Brooklyn Eagle reports that SUNY Downstate Medical Center President John Williams says LICH could close in “as little as two weeks or as much as a few months,” during which time the state Health Department will review the closure plan. The state agency rarely, however, reverses a hospital’s decision to close, WJS notes.

UPDATE 11 a.m.: Eagle reports that Downstate Medical Center president Dr. John Williams told the board Friday that no one was to blame for the death of LICH. “This is unfortunately just one of the things we just have to do.”

* WNYC confirms closure.
* New York Daily News offers reports.
* Ongoing New York Times coverage
* Wall Street Journal weighs in.

BACKGROUND: SUNY acquired the financially troubled hospital in 2010, hoping it would be a “beneficial partner” to SUNY’s Downstate teaching hospital in East Flatbush. On Thursday, Dr. John Williams, president of the SUNY Downstate hospital system, formally recommended to the university board that LICH be closed. He said both hospitals have continued to lose money, especially LICH, whose occupancy rate is under 50%.

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  • ltap917

    It’s a loss to the community.

  • Gary

    A loss? It’s a robbery. The pillaging of an institution (and the Othmers’ gift) first by Continuum, now by SUNY.

  • Rick

    I’m one who is usually skeptical of “conspiracy theories”, but this deal doesn’t smell right to me. At best there was a tepid attempt by SUNY to stabilize LICH, at worst… well, there are a lot of people who will make money from this closing…

    And as so many doctors have testified lately, people are going to die with the increased travel time to other emergency rooms. Rich and poor, we’re all in the same boat…

  • William Spier

    I have no doubt that the stranglehold Continuum still had on finances at LICH (See Dr. Coopers online letter post on the Daily News Online) combined with a close associate of the Governor who put pressure on the SUNY Board put the community in peril. If investigated, this whole affair will cast an ugly light on Albany, possible Continuum criminality and conflicts of interest with other hospitals that want to see LICH cose.

  • Lydia M. Gordon

    I used to boast that I never had to leave Brooklyn Heights. I had everything I needed right around me. I can’t say that today–no butcher, no baker, no “candlestick maker,” no book store, and now no hospital or medical facility. What we have is building upon building of apartments, chain stores and banks, and no character or charm. Too bad and too sad–but I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

  • Jazz

    Heights Prime Meats is a first class butcher shop. One Girl Cookies in DUMBO is a world class bakery. Book Court in Cobble Hill is a great book store. Ok there’s no wicks n sticks around….

  • A Neighbor

    I wonder where our neighbor, Joe Lhota, stands on this?


    Residential buildings in place of LICH will really revitalize that section of Atlantic Ave. Right now it’s a bunch of empty store fronts.

  • ltap917

    I feel the exact same way but I am happily moving due to retirement. We will be close to Boston and that’s the only other place I would have considered moving too. Plus, my children and grandchildren live there. Nothing left for us here. No bookstore, no library, no hospital. I have used the ER twice since the beginning of November. Both times were truly an emergency and I was well taken care of. Sad to see LICH go.

  • GHB

    True, but only the butcher is in the Heights. He’s good too

  • ltap917

    Yes, but they are most definitely not in Brooklyn Heights.

  • BrooklynBugle

    Well there’s always the BHB Store!

  • TeddyNYC

    Once LICH closes, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill will be located in a medical emergency desert. An extra 15 minutes could make all the difference in the world depending on the condition of the patient. If only LICH could be replaced by a smaller facility in the area that could handle medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest or a child falling on his or her head. It would give some of us some peace of mind. No, we really need more luxury housing that someday won’t be so luxurious.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Can all of us that care (1) go to the Brooklyn Heights Assn meeting this Monday at St. Francis College Auditorium this Monday at 7:30. Nydia Velazquez will be there and Bklyn Heights Assn. wants to keep LICH open. (2) Write Gov. Cuomo. Let’s hope it’s not over until it’s over and keep protesting.

  • TeddyNYC

    It doesn’t smell right to me either. I think it was about the real estate all along.

  • Monty

    Neither is LICH. It was in Cobble Hill. LPQ is actually pretty good for bakery stuff.

  • ltap917

    I think a hospital that serves the local community is much more important than where we buy our cookies or our books.

  • Gerry

    Velazquez will not fight this battle she knows that LICH did this to LICH had LICH been a great place our neighborhood would have used LICH.

  • Gerry

    @ Itap917 – rememebr this is the BH Blog a bunch of numbskulls. Best wishes to you in Boston

  • Gerry

    Most of the USA live in conditions that call for a ride of some kind to a hospital and 15 minutes is small compared to rural areas. It took me 20 minutes to get my wife to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset from the Roslyn Clairmont Hotel when she delivered our baby. Few people live a 10 minute walk from a hospital.

  • Gerry

    Not really, if our community had wanted LICH our community would have used LICH.

  • TeddyNYC

    Well, maybe we’ve been a little spoiled over the years with a easy walk to a nearby ER. However, I think in a densely populated (and getting more populated) area like this, a gap in emergency medical care could become critical for some residents. Someone from upstate or Iowa may be used to living a long distance from an ER, but longtime residents here are not.

  • Rick

    Gerry, your ignorant and repetitious comments about LICH not being used can’t be abided. Just because you use another hospital doesn’t mean thousands weren’t using LICH. Please read Marty Markowitz’s statistics for LICH use in 2012 before you embarrass yourself any more.

  • Gerry

    That part of Atlantic Ave is very hard for a business to make a go of it no foot traffic.

  • Gerry

    I know too many people in Brooklyn Heights who go to Manhattan or elsewhere for medical care to avoid LICH and the Brooklyn medical community.

  • Knight

    We pay higher taxes for those higher services.

  • Knight

    Perhaps. But LICH has been our only local destination for EMERGENCY CARE.

  • Rick

    Exactly! People YOU know. But that is only anecdotal information based on a small number of people, and thus not relevant to an overall picture of LICH usage. Markowitz has data showing large amounts of people using LICH for both the ER and for normal hospital use.

    I don’t find LICH god enough as it now is either, but the answer is to improve it (which SUNY has not done), not close it down.

    By the way, US News & World Report gives LICH pretty good scores among NYC area hospitals, listing several of its specialties as among the best available in NY!

  • ltap917

    When I lived on the south shore of LI I had to drive myself to the emergency room in Plainview which was a 20 minute drive. It was supposedly a good hospital yet I sat on a gurney for hours without the injection that I needed for the massive blood clot in my leg which was life threatening.
    I had a second blood clot three months ago and was attended to at LICH in under two hours.
    So much for those wonderful North Shore University/Long Island Jewish hospitals!!

  • ltap917

    Mine too.