COBBLE HILL — A state judge ripped control of Long Island College Hospital out of the hands of SUNY Downstate on Tuesday, calling their stewardship over the facility a "travesty of the [hospital's] mission," according to a court papers.
Supreme Judge Carolyn Demarest vacated her May 2011 order transferring LICH's $1 billion real estate and hospital assets to SUNY Downstate Holding Company, because the organization was reducing services in anticipation of closing down the facility, the judge said.
The assets now revert to Continuum Health Partners, a health network that ran the hospital before SUNY took over — but they want no part of it either.
Continuum “cannot reassume management of LICH and is unable to take responsibility for the hospital’s operation,” said Stanley Brezenoff, president and CEO, in response to the judge's order.
Demarest said she rescinded her earlier decision after she visited the hospital a few days ago and found that several ambulances arrived and were diverted, presumably, she added, containing patients “in critical need of medical care.”
“Such refusal to accept and treat these people is a travesty of the mission of LICH,” the order states.
SUNY Downstate shrugged off the judge's comments, saying they planned to exit their operations at LICH anyway, a Downstate spokesman said.
SUNY maintains that they took over LICH with the best of intentions, “to save a hospital that was on the verge of closure.”
A qualified caretaker should be appointed to take on the property and operate the hospital, the judge said, adding that since Continuum was “intimately familiar with the operation of LICH” that they were “uniquely qualified to immediately take possession of the physical assets of LICH and resume operation of the hospital.”
Despite the judge's order, SUNY Downstate is still legally obligated to handle day-to-day operations of the hospital until another licensed health care company is approved by the state Department of Health, said Leon Bell, the political director for the New York State Nurses Association.
Plans for the hospital's future are still under consideration, including maintaining the hospital as “a small and leaner facility after the sale of some of its assets,” the order stated.