LICH Supporters Attempt to Attract Hospital Developers

By Nikhita Venugopal on March 4, 2014 5:44pm 

 Jeff Strabone from the Cobble Hill Association spoke to community members and potential bidders Monday evening about the neighborhood's vision for Long Island College Hospital.
Jeff Strabone from the Cobble Hill Association spoke to community members and potential bidders Monday evening about the neighborhood's vision for Long Island College Hospital.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

COBBLE HILL — A dedicated staff, wealthy brownstone neighborhoods and the potential for a successful medical facility.

Those were some of the reasons physicians, healthcare workers and community members gave to attract potential bidders to acquire and develop Long Island College Hospital into a full service and teaching hospital.

Labor unions and community groups, who reached a settlement with LICH’s current operator, the State University of New York last month, spoke to prospective hospital operators and developers about their vision for the Cobble Hill hospital on Monday.

As part of the settlement, SUNY opened the doors for new developers to take over the hospital. It was mandatory for any potential bidder to attend Monday evening's community meeting at SUNY's College of Optometry in Midtown Manhattan.

While the recent settlement will provide greater community input in selecting a developer and favor plans that propose more medical services, it does not guarantee a hospital for the LICH campus.

Dr. Balendu Vasavada, a representative of the Concerned Physicians of LICH, said the hospital’s departments, including the neurosurgery program, cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, had been successful at LICH for years and it was necessary to preserve them.

“I urge you to bid for a full service hospital, preferably a teaching hospital and you will not go wrong,” he said

Vasavada, along with union members from both the New York State Nurses Association and 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East, said the hospital’s team of highly qualified employees is willing to continue caring for patients.

“If you bid successfully for the hospital, you are getting a ready-made staff,” Vasavada said.

Jeff Strabone, a member of the Cobble Hill Association, reminded developers of the hospital’s location amidst wealthy brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill.

The growing population of young families, as well as the area’s older residents, increases the need for pediatric and geriatric emergency care services and inpatient facilities.

“Make this hospital great enough and they’ll be streaming across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan,” Strabone said. “Save lives, make money, keep LICH a hospital.”

Officials said no more than 10 possible developers and hospital operators were present for the meeting although an exact number was not immediately available. Representatives for developers who had previously submitted proposals, like Fortis Property Group, attended the meeting, alongside new names like the Atlantic East Coast Hospital Corp.

Atlantic East offered a vague description of how it would use the facility, but said they envisioned specialist offices as part of the packages.

Fortis declined to discuss its bid.

Proposals for the hospital must be submitted by March 19 in the new “Request for Proposal” process, according to its website.

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