Judge Rules SUNY Board Acted Illegally on LICH Closing

The Times reports that New York Supreme Court Justice Johnny Baynes, who earlier extended a temporary restraining order against SUNY’s shutdown of Long Island College Hospital, has ruled that the SUNY board acted in violation of New York State’s open meetings law, and vacated the board’s decision to close LICH. According to the Times:

The trustees’ use of a vague notice, a “skeletal statement of purpose in the written agenda,” and the timing of a two-hour closed executive session on Feb. 7, the day before the public vote, “seems intentionally designed to shield the purpose of the meetings from the general public and obstruct the transparency required by the Open Meetings Law,” the decision said, noting that the trustees “are not unsophisticated.”

The story also quotes a SUNY spokesman as saying that “the ruling hinges on a procedural technicality” and that “the board would move swiftly to fix the problem.” If, as expected, the board again votes to close LICH, the plan must then be submitted to the State Department of Health, which could refuse to approve the closure, as it did a plan by LICH’s former owner, Continuum Health Partners, to close LICH’s obstetrics and pediatrics departments just over four years ago.

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  • William Spier

    Claude,

    It was Continuum’s plan back then to shutter and very busy and high quality OB/GYN practice at LICH so it could refer

    patients to Beth Israel. They wanted the private insured patients all over to Beth Israel. Continuum wanted that Ortner bequest money and its real estate and over time tried to suck the value out of the hospital. A few years ago the State stepped in to wrestle LICH away from Continuum. However, it seems the deal allowed Continuum to steal away billing and lab services and then charge the hospital something like $14 million per year for those services.

    Now, very well connected people are behind a repeat of the Continuum plan and actions to take LICH assets. They set up the change in Downstate management, brought in someone to Downstate who would then do their bidding, and are now moving as fast as they can to cripple our hospital and sell off its assets. They are so sure that they can get this done quickly that they are moving assets out of the hospital and, I am told, telling vendors that LICH is closed.

    The Board of Health, which is not immune to political pressure, should again take a stand; it should stop the Downstate puppets from taking further action; and, it should require the State to come up with a financial plan to keep LICH open.

    Finally, H. Carl McCall, chancellor of the state university system lied to the public when he said “no plan to sell LICH real estate was discussed…” at the closed door meeting. Typical of a trapped arrogant old politician,
    McCall parsed words and admitted that the real estate was discussed at the closed meeting of the SUNY Downstate board meeting. By saying that “no plan” was discussed, McCall thinks his hands are clean. But, in my opinion, he was duplicitous. He should resign. His mendacity is scandalous.

  • William Spier

    Sorry for the few typos

  • cbla

    very well said Wiliam,thanks for good info,please watch Lich open for care in youtube

  • William Spier

    CBLA,

    I have seen the video, and what I saw and heard was talent and commitment. Thanks you for that.

    Since November, I’ve smelled that a SUNY/LICH game was afoot. I’ve blogged, sent out shrill letters, and watched the reactions as the threat to our communities materialized in public. I’ve looked into those who I thought were players in all this and sent accusatory letters to Albany. I know that the Concerned Physicians of LICH, the nurses and 1199 keep hearing the same names pop up that I have. Forget the likes of Carl McCall; he could not be governor so eventually was given the SUNY chancellor position. Albany never changes, Democrat or Republican: expediency is the world view, never plan for the future. I can understand that. Upstate cities like Utica, Elmira, and even Rochester are not producing the employment numbers to support the revenue needs of their city and the state. Other townships (excluding the likes of Skaneateles et al) are on the rocks; Brooklyn and Manhattan do support more than they receive in return. The population of tax producing Brooklynites is impressive and vital to the City and State. Why then do we have to be put at risk because the most important institution in downtown Brooklyn and environs–not to say vital to our needy brothers and sisters in Red Hook– is a potential cash cow?

    Folks had better come out of their “I had my baby at Lenox Hill” fantasy and speak up. Otherwise, the powerful

    people behind this travesty will do whatever the hell they want. Just go and listen to the words of the new SUNY/Downstate puppet president.