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University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital (or LICH) was a 506-bed teaching hospital located in the Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York. It ceased operations on August 30, 2014.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2014)
Founded in 1858, the Long Island College Hospital introduced the practice of bedside teaching in 1860, and it later became the first U.S. hospital to use stethoscopes and anesthesia. In 1873 it introduced the first emergency ambulance service in Brooklyn. Its collegiate division would later form the Downstate Medical Center, an academic unit of the State University of New York in 1948.
On May 27, 2011, Long Island College Hospital became part of SUNY Downstate's University Hospital of Brooklyn, renamed as University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital, serving as a clinical campus for medical students in the Downstate College of Medicine.
On February 8, 2013, the Trustees of the State University of New York voted to close the hospital. A re-vote by the State University of New York board of trustees was taken on March 19, 2013, who again voted to close down the hospital. On April 1, 2013, for a second time the closing of the hospital was stalled in court.
On July 19, 2013, the New York State Department of Health approved SUNY Downstate Medical Center's plan to close the hospital, which calls for all remaining patients to be transferred or discharged on or before July 28. The plan also calls for the hospital to stop admitting patients from its emergency department on July 22, and calls for the hospital's elective surgery schedule to be canceled, effective the same day. According to the plan, LICH will continue to operate its emergency department until July 29. The hospital will not close July 28 as planned. A state supreme court justice upheld a temporary restraining order preventing SUNY Downstate from shutting it down, and ordered both sides back to court on July 31 to decide its future.
As a way of maintaining the hospital, SUNY issues an RFP on July 17, 2013 to seek bids from developers who can turn the property into a profitable venture through mixed use real estate projects while maintaining medical services for the community.
On August 20, 2013, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Demarest ordered the closure of the hospital to be stalled, citing a breach in the agreement by SUNY Downstate, concluding that SUNY "didn't buy the 18-building complex in the heart of downtown Brooklyn in good faith.". While bids were due for the RFP in September, lawsuits were stalling the effort to find a new plan for the hospital and community medical services. Three days prior to the bids being due, a NY State judge invalidated the effort to sell the property.
Once the dust the settled[clarification needed] on the lawsuits, the bids were reviewed and a winning bidder emerged, Fortis Property Group. The initial Fortis proposal offered SUNY about half of the estimated $500 million value--for the 200,000-square-foot complex, of which 15,000 square feet would be made into a facility with an urgent care center, physical therapy center, dental and other surgery space, but no emergency room and no full-use hospital.
At the time, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio opposed the Fortis plan because it did not contain a full hospital and had too much[clarification needed] luxury housing. Community organizations and SUNY decided to withdraw the bids and reopen the process to capture bids that would give the "community what it wanted". As a result, Brooklyn Hospital made a bid for the property that included 1,000 housing units, 1/3 of them to be "affordable", an outpatient medical facility and a 24-hour emergency services department.
The winning bidder of the 2014 bidding process was Brooklyn Health Partners, which said it would operate a 300- to 400-bed hospital on the site. The BHP bid seemed ambitious to some,[who?] and had skeptics doubting that the deal would be signed by the required date in May 2014. One of BHP's former partners claimed that BHP miscalculated "the cost of renovations needed at the site, in order to accommodate a facility with up to 400 beds." The New York Times reported, "An obscure development group, Brooklyn Health Partners, which has never built anything in New York or tossed up anything remotely as complex as a hospital, plans to make a $25 million down payment. Its partner, Quorum Health Resources, is an out-of-state hospital management chain that has yet to apply for state certification. State officials are having second thoughts."Capital New York, a New York City-based political online publication, investigated the review of the bids and determined that there was no clear method of voting, and that evaluators "awarded drastically different scores to several bidders even when their thoughts on a proposal were very similar." Among the evaluators were political operators who had neither real estate nor health experience, some of whom indicated that they did not have enough time or detail to understand fully the implications of a specific bid, but voted nonetheless, calling into question the efficacy of the entire process.
On May 5, SUNY issued a notice stating that Brooklyn Health Partners failed to complete the terms of the agreement and had decided to move on to the next highest bidder. BHP suggested that it would sue SUNY to prevent it from negotiating with the runner-up.
On May 6, SUNY began negotiating with The Peebles Corporation. BHP had gone to court to stop that process and asked the judge, New York State Supreme Court justice Johnny Lee Baynes, to give them more time. Then, another lawsuit was filed by Brooklyn-based six community groups, represented by activist lawyer Jim Walden of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Walden asked Baynes to disallow the scores given by six individuals on the LICH scoring committee. The groups allege the scorers didn't follow the instructions in the settlement between SUNY, unions and community groups, which said that full-service hospitals would receive a higher score.
On May 15, Justice Baynes returned a ruling declaring that SUNY negotiate with the four bidders, "Three entities get together before five today and come up with something that provides for continuation of health care so the place will not close," Baynes said. "That's where this should be going." Yet, Baynes also said that his ruling does not impact SUNY's ability to continue finalizing the agreement with Peebles's team, and the New York Post called the actions of the judge, "lunacy". The Post's editorial board had stated before that a full-service hospital is not viable, suggesting that is the reason why so few real and capable developers and health providers have actually proposed a hospital on the LICH space, and it stressed it once again.