Susan Raboy (photo), who credits her proximity to Long Island College Hospital and the prompt care she received there with saving her life, has sent us Patients for LICH’s statement in response to SUNY’s announcement that it is “re-opening” its request for proposals for the acquisition of LICH, but that it is limiting responses to those entities that submitted proposals before the original deadline, who may now “modify or clarify” their proposals, with a deadline of this coming Monday, February 3, and with an unspecified period after that during which ths public may examine and comment on these proposals. The statement, in full, is as follows:
LICH patients and other community stakeholders are unwavering in our recognition of the need for a full-service hospital at LICH. Although SUNY’s prior RFI process elicited interest from would-be hospital operators, SUNY officials have indicated that no bidders came forward in the RFP process to operate a full-service hospital. We maintain that this process was flawed and misrepresented LICH finances, deterring hospital operators; hence, our insistence that the RFP process be fully reopened.
SUNY’s letter of January 28, 2014 to RFP respondents regarding opening the LICH RFP process for a few days and only to previous bidders ignores the concerns of LICH patients and other stakeholders who have called for a new RFP process. The legality of this limited re-opening is questionable. It also belies SUNY officials’ statements to their own Trustees, who have been told time and time again, in response to their questions in Trustee meetings, that the RFP process followed required state procedures and could not be re-opened.
SUNY’s letter to RFP respondents proves that the RFP process can indeed be modified. We are asking SUNY and its Board of Trustees for the following modifications:
1. To open the RFP process to all interested parties.
2. To extend the process for a reasonable length of time in order to allow full-service hospital operators to apply.
3. To work with community stakeholders to revise the RFP priorities and evaluation criteria so as to attract full-service hospital operators rather than real estate developers. (In that regard, the letter is particularly egregious in stating that special consideration will be given to groups that can get the money fast and do not need approvals.)
4. To specify that ‘additional interested parties’ to participate in the evaluation must be LICH stakeholders: patients; physicians, nurses, and other LICH employees; representatives of community organizations; and elected officials.
In May 2011, when SUNY Downstate took over operation of LICH, the Attorney General’s and NYS Supreme Court’s approval of the transfer was premised on SUNY’s maintaining LICH as a full-service, acute-care hospital. The court documents at that time – just over two and a half years ago – went into great detail on the need for and importance of a full-service hospital at LICH. That need is even greater today and into the future, given the growing population of our communities, as well as LICH’s strategic location for disaster response.
Finally, we are not unmindful of current losses at LICH. But those losses stem from SUNY officials’ refusal to admit patients, closing departments including surgery, and removing the residency program, among other actions — so the hospital currently has little income. The RFP process cannot be held hostage to SUNY’s choice to incur these losses. The priority for the RFP evaluation must be our communities’ long term health care needs.
Elected officials, including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblwoman Joan Millman, and City Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, have all been critical of SUNY’s “re-opening” of the RFP.
Photo: C. Scales