They accuse Continuum Health Partners, which merged with LICH in 1998, of mismanaging the hospital and focusing more attention and energy on the four other health care facilities in the group, all of which are in Manhattan.
LICH officials have already stated that they plan to close both the obstetrics and pediatric departments at the hospital. Elected officials worry that those cuts are just the beginning, and that soon the entire facility will close, leaving a health care gap in communities like Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens that rely on the hospital.
“Closing LICH is not an option,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “The neighborhoods served by LICH will only see their populations increase, along with their need for obstetrics, pediatrics, school clinics, and senior services.
“Instead of making LICH the gold standard in these services,” continued Markowitz, “Continuum is turning its back on Central Downtown and Brownstone Brooklyn.”
At a Community Board 6 committee meeting last month, Stanley Brezenoff, CEO of LICH parent company Continuum, explained that the hospital’s financial difficulties were rooted in the rising expense of malpractice insurance premiums and cuts to Medicaid.
He told committee members that the cuts were the only way to actually keep LICH from closing.
Markowitz called on Continuum to “go back to the drawing board” and come up with a viable plan to save LICH. He also called for the creation of a community advisory board to be created by the end of the year.
At the rally, elected officials urged the state to provide any assistance it can, and said that Continuum had presented the first-round of cuts as a done deal without exploring all of the available options.
Dr. Tom Sorra, immediate past president of medical staff at LICH, said that just a few years after LICH merged with Continuum, the hospital’s board of directors was replaced with the Manhattan-based board, which he says is not committed to keeping LICH open.
“A moratorium on closure plans and real estate sales at LICH until the New York State Department of Health can make a determination has been shot down,” accused Sorra. “It’s up to all of us to stop these doors from closing.”