Community discusses proposals for LICH
by Jason Cohen
Apr 02, 2014 | 223 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Attorney Jim Walden speaks at last week's meeting.
Attorney Jim Walden speaks at last week's meeting.
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Residents and community activists filled the auditorium at St .Francis College last week, as the nine proposals for Long Island College Hospital (LICH) were presented.

The community forum was organized by six local groups from neighborhoods surrounding the hospital, which the State University of New York (SUNY) has been looking to sell, saying the facility is losing millions of dollars a month.

Representatives from the companies submitting bids for the hospital were supposed to speak, but SUNY requested they not appear.

Five of the proposals maintain the site as a fully-functioning hospital, while four others incorporate walk-in urgent care centers and other medical facilities as part of new mixed-use developments.

“The proposals need to be beefed up,” said Jim Walden, an attorney representing several community groups. “I’d like nine hospital proposals, not five.”

In particular, a proposal by the Chinese Community Accountable Care Organization was not well received.

“They appear to be focused on reducing cost,” said Jeff Strabone of the Cobble Hill Association, noting a lack of experience. “They haven’t created a hospital, but they appear to be innovative in management techniques.”

Two LICH doctors, Tom Sorra and Doug Sebkowitz, liked the Prime Healthcare proposal. The group plans to continue medical services, it would be its 24th hospital, and it has purchased hospitals in the past that would have closed if it did not acquire them.

Residents were on the fence about a proposal by Trindade. While the group wants to keep a full-service hospital, attendees weren’t thrilled with some of LICH being turned into affordable housing.

“I don’t know if the Trindade group is thinking too big,” Walden said. “I do give them a lot of credit for thinking outside the box.”

The SUNY Board of Trustees will vote on the proposals on April 4 and a contract process will follow.

“We thought it was very important for people to see what the proposals are,” Walden said.

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