LICH Community Forum This Evening

There will be a “Community Forum” concerning the proposed closure and sale of Long Island College Hospital this evening from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Kane Street Synagogue, 236 Kane Street (between Tompkins Place and Court Street).

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  • Louis Cooper, MD, MBA, FACEP

    If you are reading this then either you or someone you
    know will be affected by the SUNY Downstate Medical Center decision to close Long Island College Hospital (LICH). I am writing to urge you to take an interest in this matter as it will have far-reaching implications for your
    neighborhood.
    Long Island College Hospital is a high quality tertiary
    care hospital serving Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and the surrounding communities for the past 150 years. It is a center of excellence in many specialties including serving as a cardiac catheterization center for the sophisticated
    interventional treatment of heart attacks and as a comprehensive stroke center receiving referrals from other hospitals all across Brooklyn for the most advanced
    treatment of strokes. LICH has full service adult, pediatric, psychiatric and “fast track” emergency rooms with some of the lowest “door to provider” times in Brooklyn. LICH has also been voted one of the safest hospitals in Brooklyn.

    Due to a combination of market forces and financial
    mismanagement, despite LICH’s premier status among Brooklyn hospitals, it has been targeted for closure and asset liquidation. This may or may not be an intelligent business decision. This is most certainly, for the surrounding neighborhoods, a disastrous decision, very negatively affecting access to quality healthcare, especially emergency services.
    Some residents of Brownstone Brooklyn choose to obtain
    their primary healthcare in Manhattan and feel that they are not affected by a closure of LICH. However, these same residents will be faced with some stark realities should they face a true medical emergency. The outcome of a serious allergic reaction, asthma attack, heart attack or stroke is profoundly and negatively impacted by every minute of delayed treatment. In the absence of LICH, patients will likely be transported to increasingly crowded emergency rooms with longer wait times many miles further into Brooklyn. For families raising children in our neighborhood, there is a great comfort in knowing that in
    the middle of the night, LICH, with a full-service pediatric emergency room, is right down the block. Without LICH there will be fewer options, much further away. It is not just a matter of convenience. Lives may be lost as a result.

    Many of LICH’s inpatient services are also vital to
    the surrounding communities. Before LICH was merged into SUNY Downstate two years ago it was owned by Continuum Healthcare. When Continuum attempted, also
    for financial reasons, to close the inpatient Pediatric, Obstetric and Gynecologic services they were barred from doing so by the Department of Health. The Department determined that the surrounding hospitals in Brooklyn would be unable to deliver these services. Today, half of the hospitals in Brooklyn are in very difficult financial condition and some are on the brink of bankruptcy
    and closure. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many hospitals in Brooklyn and Manhattan remain seriously challenged in their ability to provide care. Although the Department of Health has not yet approved a closure of LICH, SUNY Downstate’s leadership does not appear to be willing to take no for an answer. They have already begun to take irreversible actions to harm the future
    viability of LICH and are hiring away staff from LICH to work on their East Flatbush campus.

    The time for words is over. If you wish to play a role
    in saving your neighborhood hospital and preserving your continued access to quality emergency services, the time for action is upon us. It will soon be too late.

    Please voice your concern to your local and State
    politicians …

    U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
    Contact Form: http://velazquez.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.shtml

    New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo
    Contact Form: http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

    NY State Senator Daniel Squadron
    Contact Form: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/daniel-l-squadron/contact

    NY State Assemblywoman Joan L. Millman
    Contact Form: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Joan-L-Millman/contact/

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
    Contact Form: http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.bd08ee7c7c1ffec87c4b36d501c789a0/index.jsp?doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fmail%2Fhtml%2Fmayor.html

    NY City Council Member Stephen Levin
    Email: slevin@council.nyc.gov

    Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
    Email: askmarty@brooklynbp.nyc.gov

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Thank you, Dr. Cooper. As someone who has used the services of LICH many times over the years, I am a big supporter of the hospital. I will be at the forum tonight and hope that many people will turn out to show their support while they still can. We should all try to make a difference.

  • MonroeOrange

    Gerry, please respond to Dr. Cooper….i bet it’s hard to argue with someone who clearly knows more than you do about the impact this closing will have.

    Dr….we the majority of BH residents due support you and are fighting for the continuation of the hospital.

  • Wiley E.

    Will be at the meeting tonight, supporting LICH.

  • Rick

    Thank you Dr. Cooper and all who support keeping LICH open, as I so strongly do. This is so important, I can’t believe it was scheduled for Valentine’s Day. A few days ago, as soon as I heard about the meeting, I emailed the meeting contact asking if the date could be changed. Sadly, it wasn’t. As much as I want to attend, I have Valentine’s Day obligations I can’t change, and I daresay many others do, too.

    When the count is made of how many people do attend tonight, that number should be multiplied by many, to represent all the people who would have attended on any other night. If there are any further meetings, I’ll be sure to attend, though.

  • Wiley E.

    Just got back from the meeting. A full-house crowd. Very inspiring. LICH still lives, and the unified community is rallying around it.

  • Rick

    Thanks for letting us know, that’s great to hear! Wish I could have been there. Any word about next steps, or ideas on actions we can take to help (in addition to contacting NY city & state politicians)?

  • Wiley E.

    It seems Andrew Cuomo is the one pulling the strings of the appointed puppets who are trying to raid LICH’s assets by closing it down. 52,000 people were said to be admitted to LICH’s emergency room last year. There are supposed to be more people living in Downtown Brooklyn now than ever before. It was said at the LICH meeting that there are more students living or studying In Downtown Brooklyn now than in Cambridge Mass. You also have the expanded State and Federal Court systems here, and 5,000 new Apts and Condos built here during the past 10-years. You have the Atlantic Yards expansion with thousands of area visitors. If Cuomo closes down LICH then he could be responsible for the early death of hundreds of Brooklyn residents and

    visitors every year. Write to Coumo about saving LICH. The last thing the community needs is losing an established hospital.

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Dr. Cooper – Would you give me permission to put your words on a poster I am printing out to disburse around the neighborhood?

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Dr. Cooper – Would you give me permission to put your words on a poster I am creating on Photoshop for dispersion around the neighborhood? And, if so, is it okay to include your name?

  • Louis Cooper, MD, MBA, FACEP

    Yes. Thank you. That would be fine. Our Brooklyn Heights Blog was the biggest “street corner” I could find.

  • gbkm

    1st next steps: dozens of LICH nurses, employees, & doctors boarded 3 charter buses & traveled to Albany this week to bring the message to the capitol – SAVE LICH. see http://www.LICHmedicalstaff.org

    Also community lobbying of the Department of Health is needed. details at http://www.SaveLICH.org.

    Lots more happening too. The fight is on to keep a full-service hospital from closing. The Department of Health has slowed the train by not rushing to make a decision on SUNY’s closure proposal and it will be investigating further evaluating other proposals before any decision is made.

    SAVE LICH advocates are available to speak to any community groups about this issue, what it means to the community if LICH is closed, and how you can help prevent that .

    For more info, contact Michelle.Green@NYSNA.org

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    Thank you – I’ll be putting the final touches on the poster and distributing it around the neighborhood. (Will upload it here, too — if I can figure that out.)

  • Louis Cooper, MD, MBA, FACEP

    Thank you for encouraging others to get involved. I’m afraid that most people don’t appreciate the power of their voice. The majority of Americans take free speech, democratic government, equal rights and other such hard-won privileges for granted. But we truly have the power to effect change … and not just wake up each morning and read about what happened while we were sleeping.

  • William Spier

    Wiley,

    I would bet that it is the governor pulling the strings, or, the governor has cronies deeply involved with this travesty. I’ve commented several times on this blog, and you can probably find those posts. There is no way that in the span of a few months, SUNY would replace the Downstate president with a puppet like Williams, garner full board approval to close and use Carl McCall as one of the flaks. Other interests are involved and they might not be associated with real estate. I would think that those interests desire beefed up market share for BHC and Maimonides. Watch closely for any Ratner association with BHC. As for Maimonides, it has been on an aggressive path for some time to rehabilitate itself.

    It’s a double header in this case and they don’t want any journalists digging too deep into this before they can close LICH. Then they don’t care what the public thinks.