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State Approved SUNY Plan for Brooklyn Hospital Network

 SUNY Council members met, July 15, at Downstate Medical Center to discuss updates on the sustainability plan for LICH.
Long Island College Hospital Sustainability Plan
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COBBLE HILL — The State University of New York’s plan to form a Brooklyn hospital network, while giving up operation of Long Island College Hospital, was approved by the state but with a few changes, most notably, to its funding.

SUNY had originally asked for $150 million to save the system but the state agreed to $71 million for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and $18 million for the following year, officials said, Monday, at a council meeting.

The new plan — which would create the hospital network and also restructure SUNY’s teaching hospital University Hospital of Brooklyn to become “smaller” and “more efficient”  — was approved by the state Department of Health and state Division of the Budget, said Lora Lefebvre, SUNY association vice chancellor for health affairs.

“The biggest issue that we have in Brooklyn is that we don’t have a system,” Dr. John Williams, president of SUNY Downstate, said, at the meeting.

A few dozen protesters, including mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, gathered outside SUNY Downstate Medical Center, located at 395 Lenox Road, fighting to save LICH and maintain its purpose as a healthcare provider.

While SUNY officials are in the process of finding an alternate operator for Cobble Hill’s LICH, they have received eight offers to run the hospital, according to officials and Robert Bellafiore, spokesman for SUNY Downstate.

The respondents will now have to submit “Requests for Proposal,” with a provision for healthcare, said Bellafiore.

“You won’t be able to win the bid unless you have a healthcare component,” he said.

Other supplements to the “sustainability plan” include increased operational savings with an annual effect of $27 million, LICH exit expenses for SUNY covered by next year’s “cash flow assistance” and “monetization of the LICH asset,” significant downsizing of the bed capacity at University Hospital of Brooklyn and the creation of a “worker retraining center,” officials said, at the meeting.

Williams also added that the residency program of Downstate is currently on probation, calling it a “direct result” of several physicians leaving LICH.

“We are going to try and make it a more efficient operation and try to keep as many people as we can,” he said, adding that the probation should be lifted soon.