#SaveLICH Meeting: SUNY Must Meet With Community

At a meeting Tuesday evening at the Cobble Hill Health Center, called in response to the announcement that NYU’s apparent withdrawal from the Fortis deal to purchase Long Island College Hospital, it was the consensus of those present that local elected officials should ask SUNY to participate in a public discussion of its plans for the LICH site going forward, and that Fortis should also be asked to participate. I write “apparent” because, according to Jim Walden, who chaired the meeting, NYU may have reversed its decision to withdraw from the Fortis deal, and indeed may offer to increase the size of its proposed medical facility (though whether this would entail a full service emergency room and requisite backup facilities isn’t known), though this may be subject to certain concessions by Fortis and SUNY.

Mr. Walden said he thought it urgent that SUNY be made aware that the community is still active on the LICH issue. He believed it would be most effective if the request came from local elected officials. He noted that some officials might be reluctant to take the lead on this for fear of creating tensions with Governor Cuomo or Mayor de Blasio. A representative of State Senator Daniel Squadron said the Senator would be willing to issue such a request, and a representative of City Council Member Carlos Menchaca said the same.

It was agreed that the public discussion should take place as soon as possible, and that Fortis should be invited as well. Cobble Hill activist Roy Sloane said there were issues unrelated to the scale of the medical facilities that needed to be discussed with the developer. It was also suggested that Prime, the next bidder for LICH after Fortis in the ranking by SUNY, also be invited. Mr. Walden agreed with these suggestions, and said it was urgent that something be done soon. Doing nothing, he said, would inevitably lead to a bad outcome. Even if SUNY refuses the request, he said, that’s better than if the community remained silent.

At the close of the meeting Eric Smith, a representative of NYSNA, the Nurses’ union, announced that there will be a press conference in front of the LICH ER today (Wednesday, September 24) at noon.

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  • Doug Biviano

    That’s right, the LICH issue is not dead among voters. I will make the press conference and would like to present 750 petition signatures demanding a full service hospital at LICH that I collected this summer campaigning for Assembly by subways in the morning. Community members would circle back to sign my petition all morning and line up.