Judge takes Long Island College Hospital away from SUNY

Cobble Hill hospital's real estate is valued at up to $1B
August 21, 2013 08:31AM

A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge ordered Tuesday that the financially-troubled Long Island College Hospital be removed from the control of state-owned State University of New York, Downstate.

In May 2011, the same judge, Carolyn Demarest, had put the Cobble Hill hospital under SUNY’s management. The latest decision is likely to lead to LICH being placed under the care of a court-approved receiver. The decision was met with praise from critics who believe SUNY took control of the hospital simply to profit from its real estate, which they said is worth up to $1 billion.

“I have a legal and moral responsibility to correct my earlier error,” Demarest wrote in the decision, viewed by Crain’s, where the judge revoked SUNY’s authority.

Health care attorney Robert Wild told Crain’s that it was “extremely rare” for a judge to reverse an order in such cases.

Demarest noted that SUNY knew the hospital was losing money when it took it over and had committed to keep it open, but broke its promise two years later. It was slated to close this month, but remains in operation, albeit with 18 patients as of July, according to a report from the New York Times in that month.

Demarest said she would look at proposals from other potential operators before deciding who will manage the hospital down the road.

The decision was celebrated by activists who have been fighting to keep the hospital open.

“We hope that this order will take us one step closer to our goal of keeping LICH open for care and letting profiteers know that we will not let them close any of our hospitals,” Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, told Crain’s. [Crain’s]  – Hiten Samtani