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New York Methodist Hospital has money to spare, so it should buy Long Island Hospital and drop its expansion plan, activists argue

An offer Methodist can refuse: Take over LICH

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New York Methodist Hospital would be the perfect high-powered medical provider to take over beleaguered Long Island College Hospital, say activists who want to stop the Park Slope facility’s expansion plan in its tracks.

If Methodist has enough cash to build an eight-story out-patient clinic, it has enough to acquire the Cobble Hill medical center that will close in May if it does not find a good enough bidder, according to the activist group Preserve Park Slope, which has long campaigned against Methodist’s proposed out-patient center that it says would wreck the neighborhood with bumper-to-bumper traffic. The Park Slope agitators hailed the historic agreement to end the lawsuit brought by unions and activists to stop the closure of Long Island College Hospital and reopen bidding around its redevelopment and said it is the perfect chance for Methodist to switch gears.

“We believe that the settlement reached on Thursday by SUNY and advocates for LICH provides a wonderful opportunity for New York Methodist Hospital to take a leadership role in addressing Brooklyn’s healthcare crisis,” the group said in a statement last Friday. “Combining the strengths of these two institutions could hold the key to providing more cost-effective and expanded health care services for the entire borough.”

A Methodist rep pointed us to a Frequently Asked Questions section on the hospital’s website when asked about the pitch. That document states that renovating the Cobble Hill center from in-patient to out-patient use would be “prohibitiv­ely expensive,” and notes that Methodist already has out-patient facilities in almost every Brooklyn neighborhood. The response also claims that part of the hospital’s success has been due to focusing on the needs of a single institution.

But executives readily admit the hospital is far from struggling.

“We’re not going to apologize for the fact that we’ve been very, very successful,” hospital head Lauren Yedvab said at a city hearing earlier this month.

A Long Island College Hospital advocate argued that the price of buying the 155-year-old Cobble Hill institution would be relatively low in comparison to building the eight-story, U-shaped complex, which would wrap around three blocks that are currently home to century-old townhouses.

“From an economics point of view, it would seem to make sense for Methodist to bid on LICH or partner with someone,” said Jeff Strabone, a board member of the Cobble Hill Association, adding that the move would prevent the congestion Slope activists dread.

Nevertheless, Methodist says abandoning its hot-button building bid and taking over Long Island College Hospital is extremely unlikely.

Methodist is seeking a zoning variance for its center, which will include a surgery center, a cancer center, radiology services, and a host of other services. It has pledged to build a zoning-adhering taller, narrower complex if denied.

Methodist is part of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System that also includes The Brooklyn Hospital Center. That hospital has submitted a Long Island College Hospital takeover bid.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to clarify that Methodist did not decline to comment.
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Reasonable discourse

Marsha rimler from Brooklyn Heights says:
The state should strongly encourage Methodist to use the LICH site for its Out Patients facilities. How could that cost more than the current Methodist Plan. I doubt it.
Perhaps Brooklyn Hospital could include the Methodist out patient needs in its bid. After all they are both part of NYP.
Feb. 26, 2014, 9:34 am
P4L member from Brooklyn Heights says:
We need an inpatient hospital at LICH -- not just out patient facilities.
Feb. 26, 2014, 11:05 am
SMH from PS says:
LICH 16 new operating rooms go unused while Methodist demolishes Brownstones to build 12 operating rooms. Only in NY
Feb. 26, 2014, 11:07 am
SMH from PS says:
I hope no one is behind the scenes stopping hospital bidders & an outsider jumps into this with a proposal for a real hospital & hops to the front of the line. Would serve Methodist & BK Hosp right to be pushed out.
Feb. 26, 2014, 11:11 am
LICHer from Cobble HIll says:
We want a HOSPITAL at LICH. Not just out-patient service. If Methodist won't do it, bring on the competition.
Feb. 26, 2014, 11:27 am
Duckie from Carroll Gardens says:
LICH would be a terrible option for NYM. The new outpatient center will work because of the proximity to the main hospital. They will be able to improve their inpatient experience once there is less outpatient service in their main building. Those who want NYM to take over LICH have only one motive and it is the self-serving goal of trying to prevent NYM's new building from being built in their backyards. It's classic NIMBYism and has no basis in wanting good healthcare for the community. They would rather see NYM's outpatient units go there which would, by definition, lead to the closing of LICH as a full-service hospital. The best option for LICH would be to select an operators who would convert it into a specialty hospital. Brooklyn would be well-served with the addition of a dedicated cancer center or of a top-rate children's hospital.
Feb. 26, 2014, 11:38 am
petunia from park slope says:
Community activists fighting for intelligent development in their own neighborhood is not a bad thing; and much better than unquestioningly swallowing the corporate line. As was stated at the LICH press conference, more outpatient services are needed in Brooklyn, but massing them in an area with inadequate infrastructure won't necessarily be a convenience to patients. Top-rated Manhattan hospitals place many of their specialty facilities away from the main hospital without complaint from their patients.
Two specific things to consider: Methodist's "improved inpatient experience" cited by Duckie is actually a plan to reduce its number of semi-private in-patient beds by converting them to private rooms - will your insurance cover that? Mine won't. And nearly half the square footage of the proposed Methodist expansion has been dedicated to private medical offices, not outpatient services at all.
The details here are important. I'm in favor of improving healthcare for all of Brooklyn, but this will not happen without community activism, and is not the same thing as improving Methodist's bottom line.
Feb. 26, 2014, 1:41 pm
Howard from SSlope says:
The only much-needed hospital in a region of Brooklyn with an exploding population from the waterfront to downtown is on the verge of closing while a hospital in an already over crowded area of Brooklyn is fighting for room to expand. Why cant they move some specialty in-patient hospital services & those expanded out-patient services? Somebody needs to put their heads together & get creative here.
Feb. 26, 2014, 3:07 pm
BKnative says:
Howard, that's the question the department of health should be asking themselves. It seems like the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing in Brooklyn.
Feb. 26, 2014, 4:12 pm
tic toc Doc from Brooklyn says:
It's hard to believe this became an article, a person that knows nada about the dynamics of either hospital comming up with an ideas to fix both problems lickety split.

But then again, it's this kind of ignorance that started this nonsence in the first place. That and the unions exploitation of the circumstances to keep this bloody mess bleeding.

Silly ideas like this is what the comment section is used for (aka funney papers).

tic doc 85 days left - Rest in peace LICH
Feb. 27, 2014, 10:03 am
Carroll2005 from Carroll Gardens says:
So Methodist should just "do the right thing" and buy LICH? TRUST me if you are a LICH advocate you don't want that. They will just make it ALL outpatient and urgent care. Methodist doesn't need two ER's less than two miles from one another.
Feb. 27, 2014, 11:26 am
Carroll2005 from Carroll Gardens says:
@SMH from PS "LICH 16 new operating rooms go unused while Methodist demolishes Brownstones to build 12 operating rooms. Only in NY"

They are private entities. This happens only in AMERICA. You think this is some Brooklyn thing with NY politics? Were you born yesterday?
Feb. 27, 2014, 11:28 am

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