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Big meeting, few answers for LICH - Brooklyn Paper

Big meeting, few answers for LICH

Maybe kvetching is the cure for an ill hospital.

Brooklynites turned up in droves at Borough Hall on Monday night to express their dismay at the problems at cash-strapped Long Island College Hospital, which has announced plans to shutter its maternity, pediatrics and dentistry wards, laid off 100 employees and said it will sack 200 more before the bleeding stops.

Mostly, the event was a chance for politicians — including Borough President Markowitz, Assemblyman James Brennan (D–Park Slope), Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene), Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens), Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) and even state Sen.-elect Dan Squadron (D–Carroll Gardens) — to vent their frustrations that Continuum Health Partners, the company that runs the 150-year-old hospital, hasn’t been open to the elected officials’ vague offers of support.

And the meeting revealed anew that there are many disagreements about the best way to “save” LICH.

The medical staff has petitioned the state to grant total independence to Long Island College Hospital, but some other critics of Continuum have been calling for the faltering hospital to partner with another institution, such as SUNY-Downstate Medical Center.

“To save the hospital, we need to supplement the doctors’ otherwise excellent plan,” said Murray Adams, who was LICH counsel when the facility merged with Continuum 10 years ago. He said an affiliation between LICH and SUNY-Downstate could save the doomed maternity and pediatrics departments.

Everyone at the meeting did agree that closing vital departments — which Continuum has said are losing money — is a bad thing.

“We need all of you to send a message that the selected closing of primary care for pregnant women, babies and children is immoral, unethical and downright wrong,” said Dr. Hugh Gilgoff, a pediatrician at the Cobble Hill medical facility.

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