Another death watch for LICH! Beep: Parent company is trying to bleed Cobble Hill hospital to death

Another death watch for LICH! Beep: Parent company is trying to bleed Cobble Hill hospital to death
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

Politicians, medical staff and community residents rallied to support Long Island College Hospital on Tuesday, but their ongoing struggle shows no sign of bearing fruit as the hospital’s parent company remains intent on closing the maternity, pediatrics and dentistry departments.

Borough President Markowitz said that Continuum Health Partners, the Manhattan-based company that owns LICH, “is intent on bleeding this hospital to death.”

More than 100 people showed their support when the Beep added, “Laying off people is not an option. Cutting services is not an option.”

But officials from Continuum have asked the state Department of Health to allow the company to shutter the maternity, pediatrics and dental departments, insisting that such drastic measures are necessary.

“[Tuesday’s] rally is not deterring us form pursuing our restructuring plan, which we feel is the best plan and most practical plan to get LICH back on stronger financial footing,” said company spokesman Jim Mandler.

The authenticity of the dire picture painted by Continuum about the 150-year-old hospital’s finances continues to be questioned by critics.

Last week, The Brooklyn Paper reported that financial audits for the last two years showed that the hospital was stable in 2006, but an audit by the same accounting firm just one year later raised grave concerns about the long-term viability of the medical center. Continuum told The Brooklyn Paper that the abrupt turn for the worse partly stemmed from a drop in patient volume.

But this week, Continuum admitted that there had been barely any decline in hospital visits. In 2006, there were 22,888 discharges, just 58 more than in 2007. This year, the hospital predicts 21,000.

Elected officials said they don’t want the state to sign off on the closure plan until Continuum is fully transparent.

The state should “reject whatever plan comes from Continuum unless they show us the books,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Red Hook).