Brooklyn Heights Blog » savelich Dispatches from America's first suburb Thu, 19 Jul 2018 02:29:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 End of LICH? Brooklyn Judge Rules Against NYSNA Nurses Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:14:44 +0000

Mary Frost of the Brooklyn Eagle reported today that Brooklyn State Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes “dismissed a lawsuit by the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) on Monday, allowing NYU-Langone to take over the walk-in emergency department at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) without rehiring LICH nurses.”

According to the Eagle, Baynes ruled that NYU is not obligated to give current Long Island College Hospital nurses first crack at staffing the walk-in center, even though NYU agreed to do so in backing the Fortis Property Group winning bid to take over LICH.

Justice Baynes wrote in his ruling that the commitment to rehire LICH nurses was not in the original Settlement Agreement made between NYSNA (and others) and SUNY, but only in Fortis’ proposal.

‘NYSNA was seeking to compel ‘non-parties to this proceeding, Fortis and NYU to take certain actions not provided for in the Settlement Agreement…,’ Baynes wrote.

‘The relief sought by NYSNA was never contemplated by the Settlement Agreement between the parties. Nor is NYSNA now seeking either injunctive relief, as stated by counsel for NYSNA on the record on September 18, 2014. NYSNA also does not claim, nor can it that it is a signatory to any contract between SUNY and Fortis nor a third-party beneficiary of any such contract. Frankly, it is unclear what it is that NYSNA seeks, and the instant application must fail procedurally and substantively,’ Baynes wrote.

The Eagle cited a Capital New York story that reported NYU would rejoin the deal if NYSNA’s lawsuit was dropped or dismissed. On Monday, it was dismissed, clearing the way for NYU to take full control of the shuttered hospital’s walk-in emergency department.

Twitter was crackling with condemnation of Judge Baynes’ decision.

]]> 2
BHB Guest Post: Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Zephyr Teachout on LICH Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:49:45 +0000

Editor’s Note: At the invitation of BHB, Zephyr Teachout, Democratic candidate for the office of Governor of New York State, agreed to the following opinion piece about why Long Island College Hospital was closed this past May.

In May, the owner of Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital shut down the full-service facility, ignoring deep opposition from community groups, patients, and hospital staff. The loss of this vital facility has put the health and lives of residents at risk, endangering communities from Red Hook to Williamsburg and downtown Brooklyn.

The decision has huge ramifications. At LICH itself, 1,400 health care workers lost their jobs. The closure of LICH has overwhelmed other Brooklyn hospitals with emergencies and patients that need procedures no longer available to them. Residents have suffered long waits, diversions, and even deaths. In addition to increasing medical risk, LICH’s shuttering has destroyed long-term relationships between residents and trusted physicians.

Together with the Brooklyn residents who have fought so hard for their hospital, I oppose SUNY-Downstate’s closure and impending sale of LICH. If I am elected governor, I will order an investigation into SUNY’s handling of the situation, and ensure that Brooklyn residents don’t pay the heavy cost of its bad decisions. More broadly, I will push for a full assessment of local needs and ensure we don’t shutter vital services unless we can guarantee citizens safe and reliable alternatives.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center – the most recent owner of LICH – has failed to take responsibility for these foreseeable outcomes. SUNY says it was driven to close LICH because the facility was bleeding money. What SUNY doesn’t mention is that its own financial mismanagement may have played a role: as the Brooklyn Eagle recently uncovered, after buying the facility SUNY officials failed to file routine paperwork, which may have cost LICH up to $106 million.

SUNY has entered into a $240 million contract to sell the former hospital to Fortis Property Group, a developer that will build luxury condos in its place. SUNY chose the developer over higher-ranked bidders that had agreed to continue more extensive hospital services. A number of Brooklyn officials have called for a state investigation into SUNY’s sale to Fortis, which was conducted in an opaque and unaccountable manner.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who appointed 15 of the 18 SUNY Board members that voted to close LICH, has remained largely silent throughout this process. His refusal to stand up for the community comes in the face of hospital staff and community residents gathering 50,000 signatures asking him to intervene.

Together with the Brooklyn residents who have fought so hard for their hospital, I oppose SUNY-Downstate’s closure and impending sale of LICH. If I am elected governor, I will order an investigation into SUNY’s handling of the situation, and ensure that Brooklyn residents don’t pay the heavy cost of its bad decisions. More broadly, I will push for a full assessment of local needs and ensure we don’t shutter vital services unless we can guarantee citizens safe and reliable alternatives.

Hospitals are essential, and allowing their wide-scale closure puts entire communities – and sometimes the least financially able – at massive risk. As property values around New York City soar, we cannot allow owners to trade hospitals for luxury condos. Ironing out the economic predicaments of these hospitals will not be easy – but it must not come at the expense of the health and safety of New Yorkers.

Zephyr Teachout, a professor of constitutional law at Fordham University as well as a commmunity organizer, is running for the office of Governor of the great state of New York along with Tim Wu, who is running for Lt Governor. The Teachout/Wu ticket is challenging incumbent Governor Cuomo and Kathy Hochul in the Democratic Primary on September 9, 2014.

According to the Teachout/Wu website: “The system is rigged, and Andrew Cuomo is part of the broken system. We are running to lay out a bold vision and provide a real choice for voters. New York can have an economy that works for all of us — not one which works only for the wealthy and well connected. We believe in a New York where wages are rising, small businesses are thriving and our public schools are the best in the nation.”

PHOTO Credit: Teachout/Wu Campaign

]]> 5
SUNY Finalizes Fortis Deal for LICH Thu, 26 Jun 2014 01:53:40 +0000

The saga of Long Island College Hospital comes to an end:

News12: The SUNY Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a final agreement on the future of Long Island College Hospital.
Fortis Property Group will purchase the struggling Cobble Hill medical center for $240 million, not including any transition costs.
SUNY will continue to run the emergency department at LICH until NYU Langone Medical Center takes over on Sept. 1.

NY Observer: The lack of an assessment, as well as SUNY’s decision to cut off talks with Brooklyn Health Partners, whose proposal for the site included a full-service hospital, and the Peebles Corporation, has fueled opposition to the Fortis deal, which elected officials and community members claim does not meet the community’s health care needs. When SUNY announced that it had reached a tentative deal last week, a group of Brooklyn elected officials, including State Sen. Daniel Squadron and City Councilman Brad Lander, released a statement lamenting the agreement, which “falls far short of a full-service hospital. And it does not resume immediate ambulance service, nor require an independent community needs assessment,” the statement read. “We will continue to stand with the community, and urge SUNY and all parties to work collaboratively to meet the needs of the neighborhood and all of Brooklyn.”

]]> 2
With LICH in Limbo, A 20 Minute Wait for an Ambulance Leads to a Death in Red Hook Mon, 02 Jun 2014 02:10:08 +0000

At a March forum regarding proposals for LICH, Cobble Hill Association member/Homer’s cousin Jeff Strabone declared, “If we lose this hospital, people will die.”

Not even a week since LICH ceased functioning as a full hospital that prediction has sadly come true. While it remains to be seen how direct the connection between the LICH closure and the death yesterday of Red Hook resident Danny Cruz Jr. is, the Red Hook Star Revue is already connecting the dots:

RHSR: “The three drivers were arguing about who would take him,” James said. Cruz finally arrived at Methodist Hospital, but it was too late. A doctor told James that he had been without proper oxygen to his brain for almost 45 minutes, and was probably brain dead. They did manage to get his heart beating again, and he was kept alive by machines. Today, at 5:00, with his family around him, the machines were turned off. Danny was a registered organ donor, and parts of him will go to save others.

But this is small consolation to his family. Khadijah recalled that two years ago Cruz’s eldest daughter Tea had a critical asthma attack, and a LICH ambulance was on the scene within two minutes and she was properly taken care of. LICH used to keep an ambulance at Richards Street, by Coffey Park, covering Red Hook emergencies. The drivers knew their way around the Houses. For someone unfamiliar with the streets and buildings of the Red Hook Houses, it could take a while to find an address like 16 Mill.

]]> 26
Everyone Who Wanted to #SaveLICH Should Watch This Video Mon, 26 May 2014 19:27:52 +0000

While the battle to save Long Island College Hospital may be over (?), there’s no doubt that the staff and its supporters put on a valiant effort to keep a full service hospital in our area.

Thursday was the last day for LICH staff and RN Tim Namoca created this farewell video.

]]> 2
Peebles Choice: Full Hospital at LICH Down for the Count As Developer Triumphs Fri, 23 May 2014 02:13:59 +0000

Emergency services and an ambulatory unit will be all that remains at Long Island College Hospital as Judge Johnny Lee Baynes gave the green light to a deal between SUNY and Peebles Corporation for a mixed used complex there. Emergency services will continue there until May 27 under the auspices of North Shore-LIJ who have partnered with the developer. The current LICH staff will dismissed at midnight tonight (5/22). A BHB reader sent us a photo of two farewell signs on the back of a LICH EMS vehicle parked outside the hospital.

Brooklyn Eagle: If the deal is concluded with the State University of New York, developer Peebles Corp. would maintain a walk-in ER at the site, and resume ambulance service by July 15. Peebles plans a mixed use development of the LICH campus.

The deal offers much less healthcare than community advocates and officials have been fighting for.

“I will be signing the document,” Justice Baynes told the courtroom. “No judge is going to block what three, four attorneys want to do.” He cautioned, however, “It’s a tough time for everybody, and I don’t think it’s over yet.”

]]> 6
Brooklyn Paper: State Says LICH Likely To Close May 23 Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:59:22 +0000

The Brooklyn Paper reports that Long Island College Hospital will likely be shut down by SUNY on May 23.

UPDATE: Memo Says LICH ER Will Close on May 12, Hospital Will Shut Down May 22

Brooklyn Paper: The State University of New York expects to shutter the 156-year-old Cobble Hill institution before Brooklyn Health Partners, the winning bidder to take over the hospital, can obtain an operating certificate from the Department of Health for a temporary medical facility, according to a letter sent from university lawyers to anti-closure attorneys. Activists said that, despite a court settlement that allows the state to wash its hands of the medical facility after May 22, officials ought to pitch in to keep it open a little longer, now that a savior appears to be within reach.

“We expect SUNY and the Department of Health to do everything within their power to ensure that the community served by LICH is not left without a hospital for any period of time,” said Eliza Bates, spokeswoman for the New York State Nurses Association, which sued the state to try to stop it from closing the healthcare center.

]]> 1
Watch @BPEricAdams #LICHQandA Here Thu, 06 Feb 2014 20:57:29 +0000

Watch Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adam’s Q&A on Long Island College Hospital now and comment below. The event, held Wednesday night, was meant to be aired live but was not due to technical difficulties.

Outraged supporters of LICH demanded that the video of the meeting be posted online in addition to airing on BRIC’s public access channel.

]]> 2
Supporters Tell Brooklyn Eagle That Latest SUNY Plan To #SaveLICH Is ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ Wed, 15 Jan 2014 02:54:49 +0000 team up developers Fortis with NYU-Langone and Lutheran Medical Center: ]]>

The Brooklyn Eagle’s Mary Frost reports on the SUNY’s latest proposal for Long Island College Hospital which would team up developers Fortis with NYU-Langone and Lutheran Medical Center.

Brooklyn Eagle: “With the NYU-Fortis plan the LICH ‘Emergency Room’ would in truth be an urgent care center, as no critically ill patient would ever be transported to the ER by ambulance,” long-time ER physician Dr. Saul Melman said in a statement. Dr. Melman is on the board of Concerned Physicians of LICH, a member of the coalition which has been battling SUNY’s attempts to close LICH for more than a year.

Seriously injured or critically ill patients “would be better off going to an ER that is attached to a full service hospital that cares for patients suffering from stroke, heart attack, GI bleeding, etc.,” Dr. Melman said.
“The proposed ‘stand alone ER’ is smoke and mirrors,” he said. “This is of critical importance if the community surrounding LICH wants an emergency room which can provide emergent care and there, and then immediately transfer care to inpatient services at LICH where minutes may make the difference between life and death. They should be aware that ‘stand-alone ER’ would not provide this.”

]]> 2
Tale of the Tweets: The People, United, Score A Victory Against SUNY to #SaveLICH Wed, 18 Dec 2013 12:20:23 +0000

The SUNY trustees hearing yesterday afternoon was surreal event featuring dull Powerpoint presentations from bureaucrats and circular conversations about the state’s rules for procurement. Worst of all anyone watching (in person or on the web) had that sinking feeling that LICH was about to become a developer’s playground — a 90 square foot “medical mall” surrounded by condos. Then the craziest thing happened, SUNY board chairman Carl McCall withdrew the plan.


]]> 0
Sure Seems Like Cuomo, McCall And SUNY Still Like The Sound Of LICH Condos Tue, 17 Dec 2013 03:15:09 +0000

The New York Times reports today, that SUNY will present a plan to sell Long Island College Hospital to a developer who would turn much of the property into condos. This is not a shock to anyone reading between the lines in the long SaveLICH drama.

Last month, SUNY Board Chairman Carl McCall told attendees at a trustees meeting that a condo option was not on the table. Moments later he told NY1 that condos were a possibility.

RELATED: The Cobble Hill Association Says “SUNY is putting the entire region at risk of a catastrophic event”. READ MORE

NYT: SUNY officials said on Monday that a developer has offered to buy the property and lease much of the block that now houses the hospital back to one or more health care providers, who would run an urgent care center, a fitness center and other non-hospital facilities. The facilities would not receive ambulance calls. Other nearby buildings — the hospital comprises about 20 structures — would be turned into condominiums.

“We’re doing exactly what the community has asked us to do all along, and that is to find us another operator,” said H. Carl McCall, chairman of the university trustees and a former state comptroller, on Monday. Mr. McCall acknowledged that the plan fell short of maintaining a full-service hospital, as the unions wanted, but said no viable plan had been offered.

Mr. McCall said the plan would be presented to SUNY’s Board of Trustees at their meeting in Manhattan on Tuesday. The trustees are expected to vote on whether to proceed to negotiate with the developer.

The Brooklyn Eagle adds that many public officials including Council Member Stephen Levin, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and Council Member Brad Lander have asked for SUNY to release all of the responses it received in the RFP process in the transfer of ownership of LICH.

]]> 5
#SaveLICH Activities This Week Wed, 23 Oct 2013 02:16:20 +0000

This dispatch just in from Mickey Green and the NYS Nurses Association:

Thanks to your efforts and broad support from community groups, elected officials, hospital staff and their unions, Long Island College Hospital remains open for care. Access to the quality health care services that LICH has been providing for more than 150 years depends on our continued efforts. Please try to attend these upcoming events:
• Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 23rd at 2:30 PM at 360 Adams Street, NYS Supreme Court Judge Demarest will hear a motion brought by community groups and the Public Advocate to vacate her May 2011 transfer order that allowed the State University to take over LICH.
• Tomorrow evening, Wednesday, October 23rd at 6PM, at LICH, 339 Hicks Street, first floor conference rooms, NYSNA invites the community to a panel discussion of the status of the various LICH-related legalproceedings.
• Cobble Hill Association 2013 General Meeting, Long Island College Hospital Update, Monday, October 28th, 7:30 PM, at the Cobble Hill Health Center, 380 Henry Street.
• NYS Supreme Court Judge Baynes has scheduled a contempt hearing on Monday, November 18th at 10 AM, 360 Adams Street

Please pass along this important information. Keep LICH open for care.

Michelle Green & Patients For LICH
NYS Nurses Association

]]> 5
BHA, Other Community Groups And De Blasio Now #SaveLICH ‘Intervenors’ Thu, 10 Oct 2013 01:44:12 +0000

The Brooklyn Eagle reports on the latest round in the SaveLICH saga. Kings County Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Demarest granted Public Advocate/ mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio a seat at the “intervenor” table in determining the next operator of Long Island College Hospital. He joins the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Cobble Hill Association, the Riverside Tenants Association and other community groups in that search. When de Blasio ceases to be Public Advocate in January, either to assume the Mayor’s office should he win the election or to return to private life, he will be succeeded as an intervenor by Tish James, who faces no Republican opponent in the general election.

Control of LICH was taken away from SUNY by court order in August.

Brooklyn Eagle: De Blasio and the community groups are all being represented by the firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. The motion to intervene was filed in August.

Explaining the “intervenor” status, a spokesman for de Blasio said, “We [the Public Advocate’s Office] will be able to take part in conferences, question witnesses, appeal decisions, sign off on any agreement,” although Justice Demarest would have the ultimate authority to select an operator.

Jane McGroarty, vice president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, commented, “The Brooklyn Heights Association is grateful to Justice Demarest for allowing the community and the Public Advocate to be parties to the court proceedings that have resulted from Justice Demarest’s Decision and Order of Aug. 20, 2013 in which the transfer of LICH to SUNY was rendered null and void.

]]> 3
Concerned Physicians of LICH Ask For Donations To Continue Fight Tue, 17 Sep 2013 01:38:23 +0000

As the fight to #SaveLICH continues, the Concerned Physicians of LICH are asking supporters for donations so that they may contnue their legal battle to save the hospital.

Last week, Judge Johnny Lee Baynes threw another obstacle in the way of the forces trying to close the facility.

Dear Physician, Employee and Friend of LICH,

We need your help!

If you have been following the “Saga of LICH” you realize that the fight to Save LICH, which started in January 2013, continues in full force.

The attorneys for Concerned Physicians of LICH, among their other efforts, have pursued the contention that the proposed closure of LICH violates the present NY State constitution –
this issue was vindicated in court this past Thursday with Judge Baynes decision, which assures that LICH will remain open.

Nevertheless, the fight to restore LICH to its proper place as the full-service hospital in downtown Brooklyn continues, since SUNY/Downstate Medical Center continues to defy court orders in its attempt to shut us down.

Our legal effort needs to continue to fight this fight until we achieve our full victory, and your help via contributions is essential to help fund this.
We thank all who have contributed thus far, and ask that all of you – physicians who have been connected to LICH, employees who have worked at LICH, and friends and community members who depend on the continued presence of LICH –

Please consider what LICH has meant to you, what LICH means to you, and what the possible loss of LICH would mean to you and yours.

Please send your contributions via check to:

Concerned Physicians of LICH
554 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

on contribute via the PayPal link on our website:

Thanking you all in advance,

The Board of Concerned Physicians of LICH

]]> 8
Judge Baynes To SUNY: Restore Services At LICH, Ditch The Goons Sat, 17 Aug 2013 12:35:37 +0000

Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes has ordered SUNY to restore servies at LICH to the levels they were at on July 19. Baynes also said he would name an ombudsman for the hospital and added that the armed and unarmed guards SUNY has employed to patrol the grounds must go.

RELATED: Semi-Homemade Solution: Is Cuomo Looking For Peace With Honor In #SaveLICH Drama?

Brooklyn Eagle: The “standstill order” will keep LICH open for care until discussions between SUNY Downstate and a number of groups working to keep LICH open resolve the matter through negotiation. In his order, Justice Baynes said that he has been advised by the Special Referee “that the parties are engaged in ongoing good faith negotiations and hope to resolve the matter to their satisfaction.”

Twitter was buzzing long into the night with congratulations from patients, staff and representatives who have been working around the clock to keep the hospital open.

]]> 12
Don’t #SaveLICH And The Trip To The Emergency Room Gets Dangerously Longer Sun, 28 Jul 2013 20:45:07 +0000

NYC Public Advocate and Democratic candidate for mayor Bill DiBlasio tweeted out a map detailing the impact on door-to-ER travel time if Long Island College Hospital shuts down permanently.

In the words of a #SaveLICH demonstrator recently, “don’t get sick in this part of Brooklyn.”

]]> 9
#SaveLICH Update: Judge Issues TRO Barring SUNY From Immediate LICH Shutdown Fri, 19 Jul 2013 22:48:39 +0000

Bill de Blasio’s trip to court today was successful. Justice Johnny Lee Baynes, who issued the original temporary restraining order barring SUNY Downstate from going ahead with its plan to close Long Island College Hospital, today issued another TRO in response to de Blasio’s petition. The order commands SUNY to appear in court on July 25 (next Thursday) and show cause why an order should not then be issued preliminarily restraining SUNY from taking any action to impede the provision of medical care at LICH. In the meantime, the order provides that SUNY:

…is hereby, effective immediately, restrained from taking an action or issuing any order that would interrupt, hamper, or curtail medical professionals duly employed by or working within LICH from providing medical care, including emergency-medical services, to actual or prospective patients at LICH, other than those based on existing medical standards of care, to (a) divert ambulances, (b) divert patients, (c) prevent or inhibit doctors or other medical professionals from using their best judgment in redering patient care, (d) deprive doctors or other medical professionals of resources in rendering medical care, (e) restrain services or hours of operation, and/or (f) take any action concerning the provision of medical and emergency care of community members other than those required by existing standards of medical care at LICH.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT respondents [SUNY] will post this Order on their web sites and post it in prominent public locations at LICH within 24 hours of service of this Order.

Given SUNY’s history of defying court orders, it remains to be seen how they will respond to this one, if at all.

]]> 10
#SaveLICH: Doctors Say SUNY Wants LICH Emptied Today; de Blasio Asks Court for New TRO Fri, 19 Jul 2013 18:33:58 +0000 Update: We now have word that the state Department of Health has approved SUNY's application to close LICH. See the official letter here.]]>

Update: We now have word that the state Department of Health has approved SUNY’s application to close LICH. See the official letter here.

According to Mary Frost’s Eagle story, doctors at Long Island College Hospital say they have been ordered by SUNY Downstate to transfer all patients out of LICH today in preparation for closing the hospital Sunday. SUNY officials say this isn’t true, but have re-submitted a plan to close LICH to the state Department of Health. Protesters, including elected officials, gathered again at LICH today to protest SUNY’s actions. Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio tweeted that he has gone to court seeking a new temporary restraining order barring SUNY from closing LICH. An earlier TRO to that effect has been appealed by SUNY, which claims it is not bound by it pending decision on the appeal.

]]> 6
LICH Moving Patients Out – “Don’t get sick in this part of Brooklyn”: #SaveLICH Thu, 18 Jul 2013 19:12:06 +0000


The latest LICH news—that patients will start to be moved today, with the plan of moving them all by this weekend—was met with chants of “Shame on Cuomo!” “Shame on SUNY!” and “Save our hospital!” A nurse I spoke with (who asked not to be named) said, “There are four ambulances sitting here that can’t do anything. Meanwhile Christine Quinn couldn’t get an ambulance the other day because they were all lined up with patients … [Councilmember] Tish James was called to Brooklyn Hospital because fights broke out … People say ‘You should have no problem because you have hospitals nearby,’ but there is overcrowding in the ERs and no room for ambulances. When Brooklyn Hospital can’t take you, what happens? All I can say is don’t get sick in this part of Brooklyn.”

She continued with, “It’s painful that people are listening to Cuomo and saying it’s a dump—it doesn’t matter about the frills. Come in and see what we do.” We’ll report more as we hear. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Stephen Levin are on the scene, though so far no sign of Governor Cuomo or Mayor Bloomberg.

RELATED: Media Coverage Of Thursday’s Flash Rally to SaveLICH

]]> 9
BREAKING: SUNY Starts Shutting Down LICH Today #SaveLICH Thu, 18 Jul 2013 18:14:06 +0000

SUNY is creating a healthcare crisis in Brooklyn. Abide by the law, #SaveLICH!

— Stephen Levin (@StephenLevin33) July 18, 2013]]>
Our Heather Quinlan is on scene now. DEVELOPING…

Follow the Tale of the Tweets at Cobble Hill Blog.

Late Thursday, local electeds issued this joint press release:

Statement from State Senator Daniel Squadron, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez,
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblymember Joan Millman,
Council Member Brad Lander and Council Member Stephen Levin

BROOKLYN — Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblymember Joan Millman, Council Member Brad Lander and Council Member Stephen Levin, released the following statement upon SUNY’s attempt to close Long Island College Hospital this weekend:

BROOKLYN — For six months, SUNY has been claiming it has to close LICH. And for six months everyone – the state, the courts, health care providers, the community, and all of Brooklyn – have said absolutely not.

SUNY has resorted to rogue, unlawful tactics. They are depriving Brooklynites of care and risking lives.

It’s time for an independent overseer for LICH, which the state and the court must insist on.

]]> 1
#SaveLICH: Suitors’ Plans Revealed Thu, 18 Jul 2013 17:31:04 +0000

Update: Word has come via #SaveLICH that SUNY is now removing all patients from LICH and intends to padlock the hospital over the weekend. Protesters have gathered at Hicks and Pacific; Bill de Blasio and Steve Levin are there.

The SUNY Downstate website now includes a summary of the seven suitors’ proposals for Long Island College Hospital. The identities of the suitors are not disclosed. The first proposal contemplates keeping LICH a full service hospital, but operating it on a for-profit basis. It is contingent on state approval of such a change. The second would sell off (unspecified) “non-core properties” to real estate developers, with SUNY continuing to provide (unspecified) “health care services” in the “core properties.” The third is from a provider of outpatient services, and offers two options. The first is to dispose of inpatient services at LICH, transferring them to to other Brooklyn hospitals, and to provide outpatient services, “including primary and specialty care, emergency department and ambulance services, ambulatory surgery, rehabilitation therapy, mental health services and prenatal and family planning” at LICH. The second, if retaining inpatient services at LICH is required, would be “for [a] medical home visitation service to supplement such inpatient services as their outpatient arm, providing full home-care and outpatient services, along with any outpatient and caregiver educational components.” This could only be done in conjunction with some other entity operating the inpatient services at LICH. The fourth proposal would convert two floors of the Fuller Pavilion into a long-term health care facility, presumably disposing of the remainder of LICH for development. The fifth would also see most of LICH going to developers, but would “provide ambulatory care through an extension of an existing federally qualified health center (FQHC), and radiology and ancillary services under an existing Article 28 licenses [sic], all in a health care center in the 349 Henry Street building.” This proposal is contingent on various conditions being met, including “support for operating losses in the first two years of operations” and waivers of or changes in certain state regulations. The sixth envisions the creation of an as yet unspecified “coalition” which “at minimum” would “include a real estate consortium, a not-for-profit hospital operator and strategic, operational, financial and clinical consultants.” This would provide for a sale of LICH properties “to a real estate coalition with lease to the hospital operator with buyback provision” and operation of LICH in accordance with “a not-for-profit public/private partnership, physician led primary care model.” The seventh is a proposal to take over management of LICH, with no further details provided.

Of these proposals, only the first and sixth, and the second option under the third, clearly contemplate keeping LICH as a full service hospital. The second and seventh may. The others–the fourth, fifth, and first option under the third–would radically downsize LICH, selling off most of the properties for development and keeping a token health care facility in place.

]]> 1
Pierson Advisor Chris Owens: Levin Trying To Keep Us Off Ballot Tue, 16 Jul 2013 12:46:08 +0000

Steve Levin is trying to knock Brooklyn Heights resident/candidate for NYC Council D-33 Stephen Pierson off of September’s primary ballot. At least that’s what a statement released over the weekend from Pierson advisor Chris Owens alleges.

While Levin spent last week protesting the planned closure of LICH, Owens says that the councilmember’s minions were filing paperwork to knock his candidate off the ballot.

Levin responds and tells BHB in a written statement, “Contrary to my opponent’s assertions, I have not sued to take his name off the ballot nor do I intend to do so. General objections are a common campaign procedure meant to give staff extra time to review a candidate’s signatures. This process is transparent, public and helps keep our candidates and politicians honest. The review is now complete and we found no basis to file a formal challenge. I look forward to a spirited campaign and the chance to have a much needed dialogue about the issues facing voters in the 33rd district.”

Update:In his own written statement, Pierson tells BHB, “Filing a general objection to an opponent’s petitions is standard practice only in the corrupt world of insider Brooklyn politics. The fact that Levin thinks these Vito-Lopez-style tactics are normal shows how out of touch he is with the people of the 33rd District. I’m glad my opponent has backed down in the face of public outcry over this clearly undemocratic move, and I hope he’ll avoid similar tactics in the future.”

RELATED: Will Brooklyn Heights Resident Stephen Pierson Take Out Steve Levin?

BHB has asked Owens for a statement from the Pierson camp on the latest LICH developments. We have not received a response as of press time. (There is, however, a brief statement on his website about the matter.)

Here’s the full presser for your review:

Brooklyn, NY – Steve Levin, a member of the City Council who served for several years as Chief of Staff to disgraced Democratic County boss Vito Lopez, has challenged the nominating petition signatures collected by the campaign of Democratic reform candidate Stephen Pierson.

Levin’s campaign filed “general objections” against Pierson’s filing of 1,600 signatures. The minimum number of valid signatures required to get on the ballot for City Council this year is 450.

“I was not surprised to learn that Steve Levin fears an opponent so much that he is resorting to the same old machine political tactics as Vito Lopez,” said Stephen Pierson, a non-profit founder and administrator. “Steve Levin’s actions show that he continues to put politics before people. My campaign filed hundreds of valid signatures, we will be on the ballot, we are eligible for nearly the maximum amount of matching funds, and our volunteer base grows daily.”

“Levin has never had to face an election like this one – and he is panicking,” said Democratic State Committee member and Pierson consultant Chris Owens. “Stephen Pierson has the money, the volunteers, the campaign team, the determination to win this election and become the next City Council member from the 33rd District.”

“We expect the Levin campaign to utilize Lopez-like tactics, such as petition challenges, throughout the campaign,” said Campaign Manager Diana Gonzalez. “Attempting to deny voters a choice is Levin’s first misstep and we will be ready for any other mischief he chooses to perpetrate.”

Democratic voters in the 33rd City Council District will select either Pierson or Levin as their nominee on Tuesday, September 10 in the Primary Election.

Update: The potential closing (and rebuilding or sale) of the Brooklyn Heights Library is another hot button issue in this election. These YouTube videos offer a glimpse into each candidate’s position:

(Fast forward to about 11 minutes in for Levin’s comments regarding the Brooklyn Heights library)

]]> 41
New #SaveLICH Events Monday and Tuesday Sun, 14 Jul 2013 02:32:59 +0000

A reader has forwarded us a message from Michelle Green of the New York State Nurses Association:

This coming week the Downstate Community Council and the SUNY Board of Trustees will be acting on their “sustainability” plan– and we plan to make our presence and opposition known.

On Monday, at noon, the Downstate Community Council will be meeting at 430 Clarkson Avenue, Lecture Hall 1. A large outdoor rally is being organized by 1199 and NYSNA. We encourage you, your neighbors and everyone who wants to keep LICH as a full service hospital to join us. Busses will leave LICH (Hicks Street entrance) at 11AM.

The next day, Tuesday, July 16 the SUNY Board of Trustees will act on the Downstate plan at a special meeting they are holding in Albany. (Notice how the Trustees’ meetings on LICH’s fate move farther and farther away from our communities.) NYSNA and 1199 will be sending a bus from LICH, leaving at 10 AM.

The “Sustainability Plan” contmplates selling LICH to a new operator, possibly one that would close LICH and sell the land for development, or perhaps closing LICH and selling it directly to a developer. If you would like to attend either or both of these events, please send Ms Green an e-mail to be assured of a seat on a bus:

]]> 4
#SaveLICH Update: Millman Arrested; Cuomo’s Office and de Blasio Trade Barbs Fri, 12 Jul 2013 15:13:56 +0000 Joan Millman, whose district includes Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, was arrested yesterday along with Cobble Hill resident and activist Dorothy Siegel and Peter Sikora, according to this Daily News story. The three were blocking pedestrian traffic on an approach to the Brooklyn Bridge and shouting "Governor Cuomo shame on you!" to protest SUNY's attempt to close Long Island College Hospital. Millman joins Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Steve Levin in the rank of elected officials arrested during LICH related demonstrations. Read more at Cobble Hill Blog.]]>

State Assembly Member Joan Millman, whose district includes Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, was arrested yesterday along with Cobble Hill resident and activist Dorothy Siegel and Peter Sikora, according to this Daily News story. The three were blocking pedestrian traffic on an approach to the Brooklyn Bridge and shouting “Governor Cuomo shame on you!” to protest SUNY’s attempt to close Long Island College Hospital. Millman joins Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Steve Levin in the rank of elected officials arrested during LICH related demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo’s office broke silence on the LICH issue when a spokesman issued a statement characterizing de Blasio’s arrest as a “political gimmick.” According to the Daily News, de Blasio responded: “It’s very easy for folks in Albany to call names, but I’d like to ask them what their plan is.” The Daily News story quotes a SUNY press release saying “[t]here is a public state-approved sustainability plan for Downstate Medical Center.”

]]> 18
Levin, DiBlasio Arrested At #SaveLICH Rally Wed, 10 Jul 2013 16:50:36 +0000

NYC Councilmember Steve Levin, NYC Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill DiBlasio are among those arrested at today’s rally in front of SUNY’s offices to save Long Island College Hospital.

Capital New York: Organizers diverted the protesters who didn’t want to be arrested to the side of the building, where the group chanted and two men played guitar, while a small group, which included de Blasio and Levin, delivered petitions to the SUNY representative in front of the building’s glass doors.

De Blasio demanded a promise that the hopsital would remain open.

“You have nothing to say?” asked de Blasio. “They have no comment. That means we’re going to stay here, and we’re going to fight to make sure Long Island College Hospital stays open and every hospital stays open. We’re going to stand our ground here, because all SUNY is telling us today is they have nothing to say.”

A police officer with a megaphone warned them that they would be arrested for blocking the building’s entrances, and then shortly thereafter, the group peacefully submitted to the plastic protest handcuffs.

DiBlasio released this statement at 1:44pm today:

“We are going to lose a vital community hospital in a matter of weeks unless something changes. The Governor must act to save LICH, and SUNY Downstate must stop its end run around a judge’s direct order and commit to keeping this hospital up and running. This is a moment for all New Yorkers to stand up and fight, and I’m proud to do my part.”

At 2:36pm Levin released this statement:

Today, nurses, doctors, community members, and elected officials stand together against the blatant attempt by SUNY Downstate to shutdown Long Island College Hospital. Their actions fly in the face of the law and are literally risking the lives of Brooklyn residents. By getting arrested, we are sending a message that we will not tolerate SUNY’s disturbing disregard of the courts orders. LICH provides vital healthcare to our community and must be kept open for care.

]]> 29
Another #SaveLICH Rally Tomorrow Morning at SUNY Chancellor’s Office Wed, 10 Jul 2013 02:38:33 +0000

There will be another rally in support of keeping LICH open for care tomorrow (Wednesday, July 10) at 10:00 a.m. in front of the office of SUNY Chancellor Zimpher, 33 West 42nd Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). Those attending are urged to wear red. Buses will leave from the Hicks Street entrance to LICH at 8:15 a.m. Please e-mail to reserve a seat.

]]> 0
LICH Rally Monday (7/8) at Gov’s NYC Office Mon, 08 Jul 2013 12:09:07 +0000

In the continuing efforts to keep Long Island College Hospital open, there will be a rally today (7/8/13) from 4-6 outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office. According to the Brooklyn Heights Association, the rally has been organized by LICH doctors, nurses, and members of the Local 1199/United Healthcare Workers. The address is 633 Third Avenue, between 40th and 41st Sts, and buses will leave at 2:45 from LICH’s Hicks St entrance.

And on Wednesday, supporters aim to deliver a petition to Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher to obey a previous court order and keep the hospital open. That rally will take place at 10am at 33 West 42nd St between 5th and 6th Aves. Buses will leave from the same location at 8:15 am.

You can reserve a seat on the bus for either rally by emailing

]]> 4
#SaveLICH: Millman Co-sponsors “Fail Safe” Bill to Keep “Downsized” LICH Open Wed, 03 Jul 2013 16:12:27 +0000

According to Mary Frost’s Eagle story, bills have been introduced in the New York State Senate and Assembly that would assure the survival of a “downsized” Long Island College Hospital should SUNY Downstate Medical Center succeed in its plan to sell LICH. One of the sponsors of the Assembly bill, which is identical to the one pending in the Senate, is Assemblywoman Joan Millman. The Eagle quotes Assemblyman Nick Perry as saying the bill

provides for the continued existence of LICH as a downsized, healthcare facility, while providing a pragmatic alternative to other plans which would simply allow LICH to shut down, pack up and leave Cobble Hill.

The story quotes Millman as characterizing the legislation as “a failsafe, a placeholder, in case we go back to the Governor.”

]]> 22
#SaveLICH Update: Appellate Court Stays Thompson Appointment Tue, 02 Jul 2013 01:51:08 +0000

The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court today stayed the appointment of William Thompson Sr. as a “mediator” or “special master” in the conflict between Long Island College Hospital staff and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which seeks to close and sell the hospital. The stay results from an appeal by SUNY of Judge Johnny Lee Baynes’ order appointing Thompson. SUNY has also appealed Judge Baynes’ order blocking it from closing LICH. The appellate court has not yet acted on that appeal. The stay of the Thompson appointment, which preserves the status quo while the appeal is pending, does not indicate how the appellate court may decide the merits of the appeal. The stay also does not affect the order of Judge Carolyn Demarest, also described here, that requires SUNY to account for LICH funds.

]]> 2
#SaveLICH News: Judge Orders Accounting From SUNY; Mediator Appointed Fri, 28 Jun 2013 16:12:34 +0000

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Carolyn E. Demarest on Thursday ordered SUNY Downstate to present a full accounting of all LICH property, assets and funds transferred to Downstate, the income derived from the properties, details about the other LICH properties SUNY plans to dispose of and more, no later than August 5.

The Eagle article says “LICH’s money trail is murky at best.” It notes that LICH’s previous owner, Continuum Health Partners, with which SUNY contracted to handle LICH’s billing after the hospital’s sale, has been accused by LICH physicians and staff of failing to bill for many services performed after the sale. Judge Demarest’s order also requires SUNY to account for $15 million it withdrew from a fund last year that was supposed to be used exclusively to pay for LICH’s costs of operation.

In a related development, the Daily News reports that retired New York Supreme Court judge, former state senator, and city councilman William Thompson Sr., father of mayoral hopeful William Thompson, has been appointed by Judge Johnny Lee Baynes to act as a “mediator” in the dispute between LICH doctors and nurses and SUNY over SUNY’s attempt to close LICH.

]]> 2