If the winning bidder for Long Island College Hospital (LICH) does not have a license to operate a hospital in New York state, then Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Nirav Shah could jeopardise the future of LICH.
Had the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) submitted a bid, LICH would have had a greater chance of maintaining full-service hospital care for the community. It's not known if HHC could still partner with one of the bidders for licensing purposes. Since most healthcare activists, led principally by healthcare unions, are held captive in veal pens by the new de Blasio administration, there's no real advocacy to press Mayor Bill de Blasio to use HHC resources, such as its licensing permits, to help save LICH.
Optimism and confusion over LICH proposals
By Dan Goldberg
Mar. 26, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.
In the end, it might be a technicality that undoes a number of long-sought bids to maintain Long Island College Hospital as a full-service medical facility.
The issue, mentioned during Tuesday night's community forum at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, regards the licensing of the buyer, after the hospital is sold by SUNY and the interpretation of Article 28 of New York's public health law, a technical but crucial point that could determine the fate of the hospital.
Community members, who were briefed last night on proposals from nine separate bidders to purchase and redevelop LICH, favor the ones who plan for a full-service health care facility. (Some of the bids propose to develop some residential units on the site.)
The potential problem is that none of the bidders proposing a full-service facility currently run a hospital in New York. That means they'd need a certificate from the state's Department of Health before they can begin operations.
There has been some concern that it would take months, or even years, to obtain such permission, which would jeopardize even the limited services currently in place at LICH.
Jim Walden, an attorney who represented community groups in the suit against SUNY and the state, said an out-of-state bidder wouldn't have trouble obtaining temporary permission to run LICH provided SUNY and the state's Department of Health are willing to cooperate.
But whether that cooperation would be forthcoming remains a question, given health commissioner Nirav Shah's and Governor Andrew Cuomo's repeated statements that there are already too many in-patient beds in Brooklyn.