Heads roll at wobbly LICH

A surprise shakeup in the executive offices of Long Island College Hospital has renewed fears that ongoing fiscal troubles may ruin the 150-year-old hospital.

The Cobble Hill medical center on Tuesday announced the resignation of its president and chief executive officer, Rita Battles. Instead of filling those top posts, a new position has been created — chief restructuring officer — a title with great portent, according to members of the medical staff.

“[It] is another indication that Continuum Health Partners, a management company that now thinks it owns LICH, is moving to downsize and possibly ultimately close Downtown Brooklyn’s most prominent medical center,” Dr. Arnold Licht, president of the hospital’s medical staff, said in a statement.

Earlier this summer, Licht and other staffers called for the hospital to regain its independence from Continuum, a company that operates several New York hospitals, in order to save it from bankruptcy, which they fear is right around the corner because of mounting deficits. Financial disarray has already caused the closing of some clinics and the sale of real estate.

The hospital’s administration said that financial factors motivated the personnel changes, but were done “to secure a bright and prosperous future for LICH,” according to a statement from Stanley Brezenoff, Continuum president and chief executive.

The hospital declined to discuss its restructuring plans, saying that details would be revealed in the coming weeks.