Letter: A LICH ombudsman says Cuomo’s loyalty lies with the condo kings

for The Brooklyn Paper
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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.

Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

but I have to live here from Cobble Hill says:
All political hype BS.

No one's dieing as a result of LICH closing, infact more lives will be saved by people not going there.

If the "ombudsman" wants hospitals, let him put it next to the houses in the Heights - then we'll see how big he talks.

Like folks in Park Slope are saying, there are folks in Cobble Hill don't want a hospital in there back yards anymore - we've suffered with the institutional outfall long enough. While no one is looking to push them out, if they want to go, light up the exit door and don't look back.

Cobble Hill is looking at a gift horse in the mouth in this opportunity to restore its residential neighborhood to "all residential" - it would be a blessing. These things are misplaced in residential neighborhoods - commercial & industrial areas are more suitable.

In the case of LICH, death is not always a bad thing! It deserves Hospice and noting more - let it pass as all things eventually do.
Oct. 23, 2013, 9:39 am
John Hartung from Flatbush, Brooklyn says:
Dear Joe Berall,

People help institutions do wrong things when they work for institutions that put money in their pocket if the wrongdoing turns a profit. We see this frequently with banks and investment firms. In that situation, when an executive helps the firm obtain a few hundred million dollars through some underhanded deal, he gets a bonus that could set me up for life (though the bank guys usually want more!).

Downstate Medical Center does not work that way. Think about it. If Downstate had some dastardly plan, which individual designers of that plan would get rich?

You’ve heard the phrase “follow the money.” When it comes to hypothetical crimes, I suggest that we ‘follow the hypothetical money’ ... and if the hypothetical money doesn’t go into hypothetically dastardly people’s pockets, drop the conspiracy theory.
Oct. 23, 2013, 12:27 pm
Bill says:
If you have proof bring it to the table. If not it may border on slander.
Oct. 23, 2013, 1:18 pm
Jake from Cobble Hill says:
The Judge in this matter was given documents that shows that downstate was losing minimal money even though it was poorly management and set up to fail. They were also given 100 million dollars 2 years ago that was used to purchase equipment in other hospitals instead of LICH. For your information Joe. Cuomo and Bloomberg have been doing this for years turning a 500 million lot to a billion dollars . Personally I dont want luxury condos that devalue my apt.
Oct. 23, 2013, 1:58 pm
Bill says:
Jake, if you had real proof and not some slander statement to make Cuomo would be in legal trouble. As it is you make a false statement about govenor with no basis in fact. If real proof existed legal action would take place.
Oct. 23, 2013, 3:07 pm
Jake from Hill says:
Closing LICH is in "clear violation of [SUNY's] commitment," she wrote. Justice Demarest also said that had she known about SUNY Downstate's dire financial condition at the time it took over LICH, "the petition would not have been granted."

The order also says that SUNY may have misrepresented the amount of losses they’ve sustained related to LICH operations, and that at the time SUNY took over LICH assets they claimed that they were prepared to sustain these losses. "SUNY Downstate's actual losses attributable to LICH approximate $30 million dollars at this time," Justice Demarest wrote. "Moreover, LICH's Liability Fund is actually in very good financial condition, to the extent that SUNY has sought to cover its own financial difficulties by accessing LICH's retained assets."

Since 2000 9 hospitals have closed even though nyc population has grown in that time. If you did research and found out what happened to victory memorial, ud realize that they are trying to do the same thing to LICH.
Oct. 23, 2013, 4:42 pm
Mike Obermuller says:
LICH Fact Check: 2011 990 form for LICH. Form X line 26 total liabilities $428,684,804 (that is negative 428 million). Total assests line 16 $350,285,255 so if SUNY sold everything we still see negative 78 million. So the fairy tale the good doctor above spins is just that, a fairy tale.
Oct. 24, 2013, 1:21 pm
heard it before says:
Time to sing a new song "Mike" aka James Hayes of SUNY Downstate. You've been writing the same comment on every LICH article in every newspaper & media website since February. Heads up: #1- closing LICH is not going to save your job at Downstate. #2- Downstate layoffs were announced & set in motion months before any claims by SUNY that LICH was ever a problem for Downstate. #3- After all the lies & misrepresentations that SUNY has told about LICH for the past 10 months, you must at some point come to realize that the only myths & fairy tales here are anything & everything coming from SUNY regarding LICH, & are not to be believed. SUNY lied about the number of beds LICH has so they could falsely claim that the hospital is "50% empty". Everybody doubts that any other numbers they report aren't also skewed as a means to their end - a record breaking real estate pay-off. Personally, I also doubt that you even live here. Since you probably do have a real hospital near where you do live, I guess its no skin off your nose - or years off your life - to be calling for the destruction of the only hospital on the entire west side of Brooklyn & putting the rest of our lives & well being at risk. But honestly, your broken-record rant is becoming tiresome
Oct. 25, 2013, 11:49 pm
I live here too from Cobble Hill says:
A previous poster writes of LICH "restore its residential neighborhood to 'all residential'.....These things are misplaced in residential neighborhoods".

First I laughed when I read that. Then thought this must be someone new to the nabe who didn't notice when he moved in that a hospital stood there. And probably still doesn't know that this hospital has been there since the 1800's, a time when the "neighborhood" hardly existed. Since LICH has been right where it still is for 155 years & the neighborhood grew up around it, the neighborhood has never been "all residential". It has always had a hospital in the middle of it. The neighborhood can't be "restored" to something it never was. LICH was the jewel of Brooklyn - THE place to be if you had to be in a hospital in Brooklyn. It still is nationally ranked the #2 best hospital in Brooklyn this year again. "Failing" hospitals that need to be closed do not get such recognition, especially not year after year. Downstate didn't even meet the criteria to be eligible to be evaluated for a rating. Those of us who remember what LICH was before the raping by Continuum Health Partners & the plundering by SUNY know it can be returned to excellence with responsible management. You should have looked across the street before you moved in if you didn't want to live near a hospital.
Oct. 26, 2013, 12:06 am
LICH worker says:
To but I have to live here:

You do not have to live here, you are free to move to anywhere in the world that does not have access to health care - good luck with that. How would closing LICH 'restore' the 'all residential' neighborhood? LICH has been there for over 150 years, serving the communities surrounding it. If you believe there is no value in having rapid care in an emergency, I sincerely hope you or one of your loved ones does not suffer a serious trauma, stroke or heart attack. Your ignorance would lead to disability or death for sure.
Oct. 26, 2013, 3:37 pm
Brooklynite from williamsburg says:
to: but I have to live here from Cobble Hill says:

LICH has been in the cobble hill neighborhood for over 150 years. That alot longer than all of the cobble hill residents and actually before the BQE existed.

Cobble hill, Red hook and the pther surrounding areas needs a hospital near there residence
Oct. 26, 2013, 6:36 pm

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