Long Island College Hospital set to close

Medical officials will decide whether or not to close Long Island College Hospital on Friday.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They finally pulled the plug.

Undeterred by interruptions from loud protestors, the board of the State University of New York voted to close Long Island College Hospital after years of financial trouble.

“This is no blame to LICH; this is unfortunately just one of the things we just have to do,” Downstate Medical Center president Dr. John Williams told the board this morning.

The shutdown of the 155-year-old institution was widely expected, after Williams told doctors on Monday that he would formally recommend closing the Cobble Hill hospital to the board of directors.

On Thursday, Williams told a rowdy crowd at a meeting of the university board in Manhattan that the hospital was bleeding Downstate’s money.

The whole State University hospital system likely lost $200 million in 2012, largely due to Long Island College Hospital, according to a report released last month by the state comptroller.

The State University stands to gain a lot from a sale of the hospital’s facilities: the institution’s property, building, and equipment are worth between $200 and $500 million, according to Downstate, which contributed the number to the comptroller’s audit.

When the State University used $62 million in state grants to merge with Long Island College Hospital in 2011, the hospital was already in dire financial straights. In 2008, previous owners Continuum Health Partners fired 300 employees and sold several buildings to manage the hospital’s debt.

State health authorities will have to sign off on the closure after determining whether or not the people that the hospital serves can find quality care elsewhere, but the board vote has likely sealed the hospital’s fate.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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