People are talking about a health care revolution, but do they mean purposefully destroying hospitals to allow multi-billion dollar Monopoly players from Somewhere Else to build condominiums for the richest of the rich, from Somewhere Else? This has been the New York City health care revolution story for the past 12 years, yet hospitals and their emergency rooms remain the fundamental unit for complicated medical care.
Two and a half years ago, the State University of New York Medical Center’s Downstate branch was allowed by the courts to buy Long Island College Hospital with the understanding that the Cobble Hill medical center would be returned to excellence after 12 years of mismanagement by Continuum Health Partners. But the State University of New York continued the mismanagement with the purpose of having the hospital declared medically worthless, financially unsound, and ready to be sold to the Condo Kings.
Now the state needs money to bail itself out of the financial mess it has gotten itself into and the lie of blaming its financial problems on Long Island College Hospital is being exposed in the courts and by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. But sacrificing a hospital and its patients and the emergency medical system of Brooklyn to the condo market appears for Gov. Cuomo to be an acceptable solution for the mismanagement at Downstate Medical Center.
If his plan succeeds, the cost of the condos will consist of the usual costs plus the additional costs of the deaths of infants, children, and adults of all ages who will die as a result of closing Long Island College Hospital and its emergency room. The additional 60,000 emergency room patients that are treated at the Cobble Hill facility’s emergency room each year will go to the other hospitals and those emergency rooms will be overwhelmed, resulting in more death and poor care.
This is happening today. The area’s other hospital emergency rooms are already over-crowded and overwhelmed because of the state’s actions at the Cobble Hill facility. And here comes the flu and the winter storms. Dare to think of other catastrophes. These additional costs appear to be acceptable to the governor, the Downstate administrators, and the Condo Kings.
Today, Long Island College Hospital is a skeleton of its former self and losing money because the state has continued to choke it and kick it, to spit on it and laugh at it, and to do the same to Judge Baynes’s Sept. 16 order to return the institution to its much stronger July 19 condition. And the State University of New York is continuing to prepare the hospital for sale to the Condo Kings.
These condos will be built where a life-saving hospital now stands, not on an empty lot with a great view.
It is time to administer Long Island College Hospital honestly and return it to its former excellence.
Jon Berall, Brooklyn Heights
The author is a private physician in Brooklyn Heights and an ombudsman monitoring Long Island College Hospital for Brooklyn Supreme Court judges William C. Thompson and Johnny Lee Baynes.