It’s Official, Long Island College Hospital Will Close

The Brooklyn Eagle reported this morning that the SUNY board unanimously voted to close the Cobble Hill hospital. They also covered Thursday’s public hearing on the matter. SUNY will receive a pretty penny for the 200,000-square-foot complex; Council Member Brad Lander estimates as much as $500 million. Also, the property is already zoned for residential use, meaning this is likely to become housing.

49 Comment

  • So it really boils down to a real estate deal. The hospital site is worth more than the hospital. I hope that whatever complex is built on the site include its own emergency room and clinic along with its own branch library. It is hard to believe that the neighborhood had many more amenities back in the day when real estate prices were a fraction of what they are today.

  • That hospital is no “amenity”

  • brklynmind: I don’t know if you have ever needed to go to the hospital but I have—3 or 4 times. I had great experiences there! Found everyone nice and helpful! And came to greatly appreciate a hospital nearby. I don’t even know where the next closest hospital is.

  • Well, if gentrifiers in the surrounding neighborhood used the perfectly good doctors at the many departments at LICH instead of trekking into Manhattan for doctors appointments at NYU, Cornell, Columbia Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai, and the overrated birthing center at St. Lukes Roosevelt then perhaps LICH wouldn’t be closing. The fact is, while the hospital has been loosing money thanks, in part, to shrinking Medicaid and Medicare payments LICH can’t find patients to fill its beds. The hospital cut its number of beds in half over the years to around 275 but they still weren’t filling them because the people in the neighborhood who love the ER don’t go for regular doctors appointments at LICH. Sucks for poor people in Red Hook and around the Gowanus Canal but maybe what we really need in our neighborhood is just a very good urgent care facility, some place to go when you have a broken limb or need stitches or are suffering a heart attack or have the flu or pneumonia. Also, have you been to Brooklyn Hospital Center on Dekalb Avenue lately? It’s improved dramatically ever since it became part of the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center network.

    • By the way, evidence that people from BoCoCa tend to patronize hospitals in Manhattan can be seen in the fact that Mt. Sinai is coming to our neighborhood. The hospital is looking into opening up a medical practice building near LICH with multiple departments. It’ll be like the Preferred Health Partners building on Atlantic Ave. and Nevins Street. Plus, there is an extremely large pediatrics practice, one with dozens of locations across the country, opening up on the corner of Boerum Place and Atlantic Avenue. Those new facilities will draw even more patients away from LICH’s base.

    • Sounds like you really care about the “Poor” people in redhook… I can tell you were not born and raised in OUR neighborhood… How about the jobs lost to your neighbors but I guess its the “poor people” in redhook who would be losing their jobs also.

  • New York City is a third world country.

  • It is absolutely criminal that LICH, which received a bequest of $160 million from Donald and Mildred Othmer, was able to squander it and all their other capital. There is plenty of blame greed, ineptitude, selfishness, and a failure to change with the times to go around. The community itself is to blame, too. Too many local residents, with good insurance plans, would rather have their elective surgery at Manhattan hospitals. I sure hope that Brooklyn’s remaining hospitals are able to pick up the slack.

    • You are right. There is plenty of blame to go around and the local community is not immune to it. Sure we all love the convenience of the very good emergency room. But how many of us can say we have our physicians’ appointments at the various departments inside LICH? Very few.

    • LICH did not squander that money. LICH was raped & plundered by Stanley Brezenoff & his Continuum Health Partners & they still haven’t given LICH an accounting of where that money went. Attorney General at the time Andy Cuomo, a good friend of Stanley, would not investigate it either. Somebody should be in jail.

  • I think that there are plans for an outpatient facility to remain there, which by definition would handle emergencies. Two of my 3 boys were born there, and because I have boys, I have seen the inside of that emergency room more times than I care to recall. But beyond that, my family has had only a few appointments with doctors there over the past 25 years.

    The closest hospital is now Methodist in Park Slope, and that is a long and slow crosstown trip from this area if you are in distress.

    They certainly could have marketed themselves better to the affluent community around them, but perhaps it was a lost cause; the lure of the god-like doctors at the big Manhattan hospitals.

    • Actually, Brooklyn Hospital Center on Dekalb Avenue is closer than Methodist. Ever since Cornell/Columbia Presbyterian took it over it is much better. If you are rushed there with a serious coronary condition you might actually wind up getting transferred to Columbia where you will be seen by the best heart doctors in the city! Heck, Bill Clinton was operated on there.

    • those kinds of ERs handle walk-in things like a cut finger. What if you have some real emergency and need to be admitted? Or you need a clot buster to stop your heart attack or a CAT scan and operating room to stop your stroke? And after that you need a cardiac care unit or an ICU bed? Do you go back in the ambulance in that critical condition and search for a hospital? An ER without back up units is not an ER – its an urgent care clinic – and you can ask Community Board 11 and BayRidge/Bensohurst/Bath/Dyker Hts how that is working out for them since Downstate took over Victory Mem. Downstate promised a full 24/7 ER but gave them only a walk-in clinic that runs on bankers hours.Downstates promises have a pretty poor track record.

  • This hospital does not only serve Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights. I don’t understand some of these comments. While it is true that the affluent prefer to go to Manhattan hospitals because they can afford it, there are plenty of other folks who use this facility. And they come from all over Brooklyn.
    I have used it and I thought it was great.
    Its closing will be a significant loss for brownstone Brooklyn.

    • Only the affluent matter. Haven’t you figured this out yet? NYC is a third world country.

    • I would bet that those comments are coming from people on the payroll of the places they are promoting. But rest assured that if LICH closes, the other Brooklyn hospitals will not be able to pick up the excess. Personally, I dont care where the heck Brooklyn Heights people go for their medical care. I use LICH for all my hospital needs. The problem is not that they dont have patients with insurance – the problem is that the company that is being paid to bill the insurances (CONTINUUM of all things!) isn’t doing the job & Downstate is not collecting the payments.

  • I’m a superintendent a block away from the hospital and I was told Donald Trump made an offer. This definitely has greed all over it. I find it hard to believe if this hospital had really bad financial problems for the past 17 years, why would SUNY take a risk in buying it? I believe they already had plans on selling it to get in on the high profit from selling it, not care how many people and small businesses will be affected by this! Money is the root of all evil.

    • totally agreed. which is probably why downstate never marketed LICH, or followed through on any of its promises to the community about the new services it was bringing in, or even painted the place. And when you find out that the SUNY attorney who brokered the LICH take-over by Downstate is also on the board of directors for a company that buys up healthcare facilities across the country & sells them for profit, you really got to wonder what the heck went on here. The findings of the investigation are no doubt going to be very interesting.

  • The hospital is a cesspool of MRSA and malpractice – and any honest medical professional in this city (or malpractice attorney) will confirm that.

    Hospitals in general are a consolidating because the # of beds is too great for the need. So closing a lousy hospital is nothing to cry about

    I believe the plan is to keep an emergency room facility here (and if not I guarantee you one will open) and that is all anyone here is really talking about anyway,

    The reason why people arent going to this hospital isnt because they are snobby gentrifiers (you people will turn anything into a class contest), its because good doctors dont want to be associated with this hospital. [Most people don’t chose their hospital, they chose a Dr. who is associated with a hospital]

    • Do you have any evidence that it is a “cesspool of MRSA and malpractice” or this just you saying so making it thus.

      Unfortunately, everything in NYC is about class, since everything, including this, appears to be about somebody making money at the expense of the community at large.

      NYC = third world country.

    • btklymind, cite please, otherwise you’re a troll. Besides others who’ve commented, I have been an in-patient once and my specialists are at LICH. I have had nothing but good experiences.

      It’s closing is sad. But if we had a good national health care system, this stupid idea of hospitals chasing each others’ patients could stop. I guess we’re lucky we don’t have competing NYPDs and NYFD to call on in an emergency, as no doubt the Republican extremists would go for (competition!).

    • Yep. Troglodyte.

    • LICH has 66 doctors & 35 specialities ranked top in the nation by 2012 US News & World Report. It was also ranked the #2 safest hospital in Brooklyn. It has 250 operational beds (not 500) & has been running an average of 90-110% full capacity for 2 years. On most days there are 260-270+ patients. In fact already this year there have been 1000 more patients admitted than at this same time last year. So actually youre wrong as the need & the number of patients is greater than the number of beds.

  • Sorry to see people will eventually lose their jobs at LICH…that is the real tragedy here. There are plenty of hospitals throughout that people in need can easily access.

    Does anyone know when the doors to LICH will actually close? Soon? A year from now?

    In terms of the real estate opportunity; this will undoubtedly be sold for big $ , and developed into high quality housign , likely with retail that will ignite this end of atlantic avenue.

    • there is no closing date. there is no approval to close from the Department of Health. In fact, the Supreme Court just slammed the emergency brakes on the whole thing and slapped a temporary restraining order on SUNY to take no further action to close LICH or to even discuss a LICH closure with the DOH.

  • Jaguar – humor me for a second. If the hospital is actually closing because it cannot financially support itself. What use would you approve of SUNY selling it for? Should the State University system sell it for a less lucrative purpose and thereby cost the taxpayers more? I just dont get your premise.

  • I’m not sure someone should compromise on the quality of medical care they will receive in order to patronize a local hospital so it won’t have to shutdown, so maybe we shouldn’t blame the newbies. Sadly, a hospital is a business in this country and I would say, like someone else did, they didn’t market themselves very well. St.Francis on Long Island is one of the best heart hospitals in the world. How do I know this? Because they plaster it on every ad they take out. If LICH is an equal to some of the other world-class hospitals we luckily have here, they did a bad job of getting that word out. That being said I’m saddened its going. We need more hospitals in this city not condos.

  • This isn’t accurate. The closing isn’t official quite yet… the state has to approve it first.

  • Well, I will admit that my doctors are in Manhattan. Not that I have anything against the ones nearby (in fact, they would be more convenient) but because I am loyal to my doctors whom I have been seeing for decades. It is certainly not because I am rich (definitely not!) I think that goes for lots of other people. If you trust a doc you tend to stick with them. And yes, I guess I am one of the “new people” as I have been here less than ten years, although recently I am starting to feel like a crabby old timer who is bugged out by all the new wealth.

  • I didn’t even know people went to full-blown hospitals just to see an internist or pediatrician to get a checkup. I go to a hospital if I need a carotid ultrasound, not to get my lipids tested. Then are plenty of small internists and family practices in Cobble Hill, Carroll Garden, and the Heights that I’m sure many local people patronize.

  • Methodist, LICH has been trying to recruit good doctors (i.e. american med graduates, not foreign born medical graduates) in order to entice wealthy patients.

    I can tell you from first hand.

    I am doctor, american med graduate, IVY league residencty/fellowship trained. I tried to be pro-Brooklyn and practiced at Methodist.
    However once I realized none of the wealthy people used Methodist and its all medicaid patients, I sold out to Manhattan and joined NYU. So your “good” Manhattan type doctors are being recruited in these Brooklyn hospitals, but only stay for a year or two before we jump ship.

    LICH could easily have been a Lenox Hill type community hospital, but the wealthy people refused to use it.

  • What minard said, times ten.

    My thoughts are with all the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, attendants and other staff that we’ve met at our numerous times at LICH. When my daughter’s pediatric practice transferred to Mount Sinai, their nurses and office staff did not. I hope all these people find jobs because they are all wonderful.

  • 500m for 200k sf? I never

  • LICH used to be a very wealthy hospital due to a large number of local real estate holdings. The hospital was not managed well and did not respond to the changes in healthcare – fewer beds and more outpatient care are the trend everywhere – among other things. Continuum raided LICH for it’s real estate and used the money for it’s Manhattan hospitals. They were the ones who pocketed the money from selling the block through site on Court between Union and Sackett that is under construction. I don’t doubt that Downstate took over LICH to finish it off and use the money for it’s own facility. What Continuum and Downstate did looks like fraud to me.

  • what is happening at LICH is a real estate deal. Period. New condo towers on that site will have views of NY harbor and that’s what is driving this closure. There are posters with personal axes to grind against this hospital for whatever reason but my personal experience both as a patient and a visitor has been excellent. The other falsehood written here is that good doctors do not want to work at hospitals like LICH, That is bull. I have physician friends who work in hospitals like Montefiore in the Bronx and Columbia Presbyterian in Washington heights, both are hospitals in extremely poor areas and yet they have excellent medical staffs. LICH could have been an excellent hospital but it was taken over and bled to death by a conglomerate that wants to cash in on the hospital’s real estate. A disgraceful act. One that the Attorney General should look into and I’m sure the local community groups are going to press for investigations. This is not a poor helpless community and it will fight back.

  • Having had several poor experiences with this hospital, I say it’s about time. Everyone wants the emergency room, but no one goes there for ongoing treatments, and it’s no surprise why. And the ER sucks too. You wait over an hour – bleeding – with no one else in the waiting room. I delivered a baby there and it was a hellish experience. They’ve lost medical records and blamed me for it, sending me down to a basement file room to search for myself. I’ve been in the neighborhood nearly 20 years. Blame the gentifiers if you want. This hospital is no “amenity”. If you want to stay local for your treatment, Methodist is good – but NYU Langone is closer.

  • My cancer was diagnosed at LICH, but when I met a surgeon to discuss treatment, his office had a huge water stain, peeling paint and plaster, and I was so turned off I ended up going to Memorial Sloan Kettering instead.

  • I live in DUMBO and I delivered my daughter at lich and it was a wonderful experience. The staff was top rate. The labor and delivery ward was clean and attractive. I can’t speak for any other department, but I had only praise for my stay. I’m very sad to see the hospital go, only to be replaced by more apartments.

  • Housing for Who? The already rich and famous? This city under Bloomberg cares naught fot it’s citizens it only cares about money, money, money. Who cares how many lives are lost or the overcrwding of the other area hospitals. Let’s make sure the Donald makes more money. Rich people can live anywhere. Oh, but let’s give them a beautiful view. It doesn’t matter that its at the expense of a few lives or the health of the public. They’re poor, they mean absolutlely nothing in the scheme of things. God is watching and He’s not very pleased.

  • Its not official, the SUNY board may have voted but its ultimately up to the Department of Health. Please make sure your reporting is accurate, otherwise the community will be misinformed. The hospital is still open for business.