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Senior moment: Activist claims LICH can be saved by letting old folks move in

Doctors: We have an antidote for Long Island College Hospital’s imminent demise
Medical officials will decide whether or not to close Long Island College Hospital on Friday.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Here’s one way to resuscitate Long Island College Hospital — bring in assisted living.

Instead of shuttering the 155-year-old Cobble Hill medical facility, the hospital should lease out some unused floors to a private company that offers high-end care for seniors, said activist Peter Flemming, a former Brooklyn Heights Association trustee and the co-chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Council.

“It’s under-utilized — that’s the essential problem,” said Flemming. “The hospital runs at a loss as it’s now operated, but if they could get income from more than one floor, I’m confident it could end that deficit.”

This plan isn’t likely to be realized — at least under Long Island College Hospital’s current owners, the State University of New York, which intends to close the hospital on May 21.

“SUNY is not in the business of running assisted living centers,” said spokesman Robert Bellafiore. “They run a medical school and hospitals.”

But the “beautifully constructed” building is worth saving, Flemming said — and despite his preservationist-leaning background, he says he cares more about use than design.

“I’m not interested in the architecture, I’m interested in the economics of it and saving a perfectly good hospital,” he said.

The SUNY board recommended shuttering the money-losing medical center at the beginning of February, but pro-hospital activists won a suit keeping the hospital open for now after a judge ruled the panel violated transparency laws.

If his plan doesn’t come through, Fleming is open to almost anything to keep the hospital from being sold and turned into condo towers.

“This is just one solution to prevent the hospital from being shut down and turned into a private development,” he said.

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

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