City Journal Autumn 2014

Current Issue:

Autumn 2014
Table of Contents
Subscribe
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Bob McManus
De Blasio’s Hospital Bill Comes Due « Back to Story

View Comments (21)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.


 
Showing 21 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
Empty prisons upstate, empty hospitals downstate. NY is an enterprise owned and operated by unions and the mafia. "A Great Place To Do Business"--if you're a shakedown artist.
The author resides in Manhattan and obviously doesn't understand the difficulty of those of us who live in the "outer boroughs". For over 40 years my family has used LICH, mostly in emergency situations. That is the problem, in an emergency one can't always get into Manhattan. In Aug I went to LICH were I was diagnosed with double pneumonia. I was in intensive care for almost 3 weeks and spent 9 days on a ventilator. Last week (Dec 4) while returning from a meeting at the hospital, I tripped on the sidewalk. I went back to LICH where they took care of a cut on my face but when my ear started bleeding I needed a ct scan. It turned out I had a broken jaw and a broken bone in my ear canal. I couldn't stay at LICH because so many services had been stripped away. I asked to be transferred to NYU and I was told their emergency room is still not operating. Methodist wasn't accepting transfers from LICH unless a doctor on a service there will admit you. I ended up at Lutheran. While the care I received was fine, the emergency room on Thurs afternoon was over crowded and understaffed. It's nice to think you can go wherever you prefer but very often in an emergency choices are not available for various reasons. With a community that is growing every year, taking away one of the major health resources in the downtown area is foolhardy. With every major subway system coming through the area, in a disaster the resources will be overwhelmed. Maybe LICH can't be saved. Maybe it will be sacrificed as Saint Vincent's was to the realty interests. But one thing is for sure. People will die because we don't have accessible health care in emergency situations. Reorganizing the hospital is rational. Closing it is insane.
There is a whole lot of more horrible things about De Blasio's politics than the fact that he wants to waste a few million on a superfluous hospital. How can New Yorkers support abortion, homosexuality, affirmative action, rent control, gun control, socialized medicine and every other wild and crazy and uncivilized thing to come down the pike? Is this supposed to be intelligence and wisdom at work?
What do you call it when SUNY prevents patients from using LICH and will not allow LICH to have more than a handful of patients, then calls the press to say Look! LICH has only a handful of patients!

Engineering the situation to make sure that patients are kept out of LICH, taking actions to get rid of patients from LICH, then pointing to the lack of patients as a reason to close the place - whats the word for that kind of manipulation?

Wtf
LICH is not a "white-elephant" - it is being butchered to become SUNY's cash-cow --- to bail out SUNY's budget woes that existed well before they ever were involved with LICH. Last February, SUNY reported that their university hospital in East Flatbush was losing more than twice the amount that they claimed LICH was losing every month. According to them, LICH was the least of their financial problem, accounting for just a fraction of their losses, so why would they want to close the hospital that was in better physical condition & costing them the least? At a Trustee board meeting in November 2012, video of which can be seen on SUNY's Trustee meeting archive webpage, a consultant tells the trustees to consider selling some assets to bail out its financially troubled medical school or consolidate the school into the one at Stonybrook, Long Island. A trustee comments that if they are going to sell assets they have to "look at which ones will bring the best deal in a sale" because SUNY Downstate's East Flatbush real estate is "not attractive & won't bring the best deal". Two months later, the Trustees announced that "LICH must close". Since then, they & their well-connected friends have been trying to fabricate justifications for killing LICH, like not billing for services, not collecting payments, preventing services from being performed, keeping patients out, & cutting off all sources of LICH income, then claiming that LICH is "losing" millions. LICH isn't losing anything. SUNY is throwing that money away with its illegal efforts to create an excuse to close LICH. Bamboozle is a polite word for what SUNY is trying to do to the public through their cronies' publications & articles like this one.

There you go again, Mike. trying to trash our community. FYI we do support our neighborhood hospital. Until SUNY ripped patients out of their beds & wouldn't let them back, those beds were 90% full everyday. LICH was Full to its 250 bed occupancy level everyday until SUNY got rid of the patients. Who do you think was in those beds? It was people like me - people from LICH's neighborhood. So you can stop YOUR lies all over the internet. No matter how many times you're repeating the same falsehoods in the comments sections of very article about LICH, it still wont make your BS true. LICH is saved because it's neighborhoods and community cares about it. Now we will see it restored with a new operator. The communities that depend on LICH demand to have part in looking at ALL the option proposals & deciding who that operator is. You may be sitting in a nice SUNY office but your are insignificant in this process for LICH's restoration.
Okay LICH Folks "STOP THE LIES." LICH is a money pitt where the rich folks near LICH do not use it and they don't want to support it. If DeBlasio wants LICH SUNY would be happy to turn it over to NYC. ONLY the NYC Hospitals are 500 million in the hole, adding LICH would be problematic at best for NYC. Price Waterhouse said the SUNY Hospitals were very efficent and prior to 2007 were in a profitable setting. The NYS Comptroller said a majority of the fiscal problems at SUNY are due to the LICH takeover.
So proud to see the passionate supporters of LICH, people who base their opinion on truth and facts!Yes,LICH did have financial problems for the last 17 years, but not even close to the numbers SUNY and Mr McManus claims. The question is why. Why nearby Methodist hospital is doing so well that they are planning the tremendous expansion. Why even small Lutheran Hospital is OK?
We can blame the Continuum for that. But the truth is, LICH's own administration for all those years was corrupt, mismanaged the Hospital completely, hardly put any money in new equipment and procedures. They neglected any proposals for improvement and let the incompetent middle management to run the show. No one of them is responsible today for what they did to LICH, they all got cushioned positions in other hospitals.
To close the hospital is not an answer. The answer is to make it work they way it could and should. Because it's needed right there where it stands. I know from the first hand how Resident physicians appreciated LICH in comparison with SUNY Brooklyn Hospital. They also tried to change things at LICH to make it better, but management not only did not support them, but made them silent.
It's actually very clear. LICH needs new management who would be interested to make it profitable, to become one of the best hospitals in Brooklyn again. It is very possible if there would be the will of Governor to make SUNY to take their HANDS OFF!
Wow..SUNY is in bad shape. All they can afford is to buy an article for an online blog which no one reads.
I dont blame McManus..he was told what to write and he got paid to write it and he did.
SUNY says one day that LICH is losing $4 million a month, the next day it's $19 million, then it's $15 million & now it's supposedly $500 million over the last 11 months. Please. what kind of imbeciles do they think we are in Brooklyn? Well, maybe some of these reporters are because even though SUNY refuses to release any kind of financial document to prove the figures that they claim, the press just keeps regurgitating it over & over as if it's a fact. Newsflash: it's not fact. LICH is not losing that money. SUNY is COSTING LICH MILLION$ by keeping patients out & not allowing them to utilize the services. The patients keep going to LICH. SUNY won't let them stay. SUNY is the one causing the loss of income and they have no business complaining about it when they can end it by resuming services at any time. You should come to LICH someday and see all the patients inside the ER being told by SUNY docs that they need to be in a hospital but cannot stay at LICH & will be transferred to Downstate. Make sure you stick around long enough to watch the battle that ensues when the patients refuse to leave one of the best hospitals in Brooklyn. I saw it for myself. SUNY should be sued by every patient who has suffered from the duress or domino effect caused by this. We need our full service hospital. This is not about the unions. It's about our communities. We DO use our hospital. We don't all have the means, proximity, or desire to go to Manhattan for healthcare. We don't all live at the foot of the East River bridges. We don't all have cars. Without one, it's not so easy to get up the FDR from my working class neighborhood in Carroll Gardens which is right down the street from LICH. I find your remarks offensive & they suggest that you don't know much about our hospital or community. It seems to me to be quite an ignorant statement to say the hospital can be closed because it has an affluent zip code. What about the people on the next block which has a different zip code? Or in the surrounding LICH communities? We aren't all so well-to-do as you infer. LICH patients are not from just well-off Brooklyn Heights. We're working people. We have families. We have insurance. In some of the neighborhoods of our community, people are living at poverty level just 1 mile from the affluent neighborhood you refer to -- and they depend on LICH. Simply put, SUNY is perpetuating myths about us, our community & our hospital. The same way you seem to be sending a message to certain individuals with your selling suggestions in this article, I'm sending you one too: Hands Off My Hospital!
Mr McManus, didn't you get the memo? SUNY has been to the Appelate Court time after time after time trying to get the Supreme Court ruling overturned. It ain't happening. They were dismissed from Appelate yet again just last week. Obviously, there's a reason why they keep losing despite their dozens of high powered fancy attorneys. It's called THE TRUTH. So don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

My question is who are you or SUNY to decide what the community needs? How could you possibly deign to know what those communities need when there has never been any assessment of the needs in the communities that depend on those threatened hospitals? On what basis do you insist that LICH "can't be a full service hospital"? Why not? What's the criteria & who decides which hospital gets to stay full service & which one becomes a health center? Mayor Bloomberg said "we can't have a hospital on every corner". Ok. LICH is the only one for miles around. SUNY has another hospital right across the street from the mayor's massive Kings County HHC hospital in central Bklyn. Based on the Mayor's comment, one of those should be the one to close. The SUNY hospital over there is falling apart, Kings County was just renovated. So rocket science to figure that one out. Also, by SUNY's own admission, LICH was never losing anywhere near the tremendous amounts of money that the other SUNY hospital across the street from Kings County was losing every month. Based on that, again that one is the SUNY hospital which should be the closing - not LICH. So tell me how did you deduce that 2 hospitals can exist both full service right across the street from each other but the only hospital in the Downtown area, serving a massive swath of the most densely populated & fastest growing parts of Brooklyn is the one that can't be a full service hospital? What is your decision based on? Should a hospital be closed because it's management is corrupt & irresponsible? Or should its management be sent packing with empty pockets & a new responsible management be brought in to restore the hospital to its fullest potential? Why shouldn't LICH remain full service hospital under a new operator & SUNY's decrepit other hospital be downsized into a health center across the street from the massive Kings County hospital? You have the audacity to be dictating to all of us on what we can & cannot have but don't offer any logical basis for why LICH can't remain a full service hospital. That's because you are not reporting anything. All you're doing here is working for H Carl McCarl, doing his dirty work, helping him scare off potential new operators, repeating SUNY's Bull$nit lies. He does not get to decide which communities lose their hospitals -- & neither do so-called "reporters"
#1 LICH was not a failing hospital or a "medically superfluous" one. It was nationally known as a high-volume designated stroke center, cardiac angioplasty center & premier medical teaching facility until just a few short months ago, when SUNY voluntarily shut down LICH's 155 yr old medical doctor teaching program, killed off its 130 yr old nursing school, and transferred LICH interns & residents to Downstate. For the 3rd yr in a row this yr, even with all the pillaging and neglect by its owners Continuum & then SUNY, LICH was once again nationally ranked by US News & World Report as one of the two top best hospitals in Brooklyn, again among the top 25 hospitals in NYC and surrounding counties, & again in the top 30 of the entire state. Just the mere fact that it was ranked at all defies SUNY's claim that it was a failing hospital. Failing hospitals are not eligible to be ranked. If LICH was failing, as SUNY so desperately has its media friends trying to convince everyone it was, LICH never even would have been evaluated to be ranked, never mind achieve a rank as one of the best in the borough, city and state.


#2 LICH is not a "white-elephant" - it is being butchered to become SUNY's cash-cow --- to bail out SUNY's budget woes that existed well before they ever were involved with LICH. Last February, SUNY reported that their university hospital in East Flatbush was losing more than twice the amount that they claimed LICH was losing every month. According to them, LICH was the least of their financial problem, accounting for just a fraction of their losses, so why would they want to close the hospital that was in better physical condition & costing them the least? At a Trustee board meeting in November 2012, video of which can be seen on SUNY's Trustee meeting archive webpage, a consultant tells the trustees to consider selling some assets to bail out its financially troubled medical school or consolidate the school into the one at Stonybrook, Long Island. A trustee comments that if they are going to sell assets they have to "look at which ones will bring the best deal in a sale" because SUNY Downstate's East Flatbush real estate is "not attractive & won't bring the best deal". Two months later, the Trustees announced that "LICH must close". Since then, they & their well-connected friends have been trying to fabricate justifications for killing LICH, like not billing for services, not collecting payments, preventing services from being performed, keeping patients out, & cutting off all sources of LICH income, then claiming that LICH is "losing" millions. LICH isn't losing anything. SUNY is throwing that money away with its illegal efforts to create an excuse to close LICH. Bamboozle is a polite word for what SUNY is trying to do to the public through their cronies' publications & articles like this one.


#3. LICH is not a 500 bed hospital as you and others, including SUNY, knowingly continue to erroneously state. LICH carries a license to expand up to 500 beds but actually has only 250 beds & those were full to above 90% occupancy every day until SUNY illegally physically removed the patients & blocked the doors. SUNY pulled most of the patients out of LICH this past June in a patient-grab to fill up its real failing hospital -- the one in East Flatbush (which the Berger report recommended closing) -- & installed bolts on LICH emergency room doors, causing chaos all across Brooklyn and risking lives in the process. SUNY has continued that chaos by continuing to block physicians from admitting patients thru the admitting office, barred patients from being admitted thru the emergency room, refused to allow doctors to schedule surgeries, procedures, & obstetrical deliveries -- all illegally --- and now tries to gaslight the public with the claim that LICH must close because there's just a few dozen patients. One day theyre saying LICH must close because of a "mass exodus" of staff. That was proven to be a flie, the staff is there. So today they take a different tactic & say LICH must close because there's too much staff and not enough patients. LICH would be filled up in a week if SUNY wasn't actively preventing the patients who keep coming to LICH from getting into the beds or utilizing its full services. For SUNY to coerce and transfer out hundreds of patients & keep other patients from getting past the front door & then claim that LICH is under-utilized with few patients is pretty despicable. Governor Andrew Cuomo should be ashamed of himself.


#4. The media writing articles like yours, designed to put SUNY's version of the story into the public's mind often enough for them to confuse it with the truth, is part of the war-room strategy. This is all a SUNY machine manufactured, orchestrated dismantling of a fully functional, nationally recognized, high-performing, highly-utilized, much needed medical facility. And hopefully your world will soon see that what SUNY has done at LICH was in fact also criminal.


#5. SUNY using their media exec connections all over this city to help them deceive the public on this issue is not surprising. But for all of the "journalist's" so-called reporting (playing parrot) about the supposed "loss" of millions per month, there has not been 1 piece of evidence, documentation or financial statement released by SUNY that would support that claim. True journalists would not be reporting such claims as though they are fact without such evidence. If you are so concerned about SUNY finances, tell your friends there to open the doors to LICH services, let the patients in, bill for those services, & collect the payments. How much money would they have saved if they had just let LICH continue fully operational this past year while they sought a new operator to take over? SUNY could have already "exited" from LICH. Instead, they shut down all avenues for LICH income & then complain about how much they are "losing" as the entire Brooklyn community refuses to allow SUNY to steal its hospital from them.


#6 LICH does not serve only the uninsured or lesser insured. It has one of the best payor mixes in the borough. With responsible, effective, competent management it is one of the most viable facilities. It may be located in an affluent zip code, but it's patients come from all over the Northwest & Southwest of Brooklyn, across a multitude of racial, cultural, and socio-economic populations. The majority of LICH patients are from right there in Cobble Hill and Red Hook. Cobble HIll is one of the more affluent neighborhoods. But Red Hook is home to one of the largest NYCHA housing developments in NYC & is a designated medical professional shortage area. For you to say that LICH can be closed because its more affluent neighbors have the means to go to Manhattan for healthcare, while you do not even acknowledge that Red Hook residents have only LICH and rely on it, can only be described as the most ignorant kind of racism. Not surpisingly, your perspective is word-for-word parroting of SUNY's own PR spin. For the record, based on LICH's own data, its patients do come from the surrounding neighborhoods and the majority of them do have insurance.

If you didn't bother to ask to look at documentation of real facts or supporting evidence, or ask the other side for comment before printing SUNY's mantra about LICH, I have to wonder how much SUNY paid you guys off to spread their lies, deliberate misrepresentations, & PR spin.

As a journalist, I'm embarrassed for you and extremely disappointed.
Read the Supreme Court decisions. Read the Appellate decisions. All rule against SUNY. Read the Comptroller's Report. Read the original Berger Commission Report, before Cuomo pressured him to do a 180. Read the Stromberg Report on how badly SUNY was/is managed. Then divulge the Real Estate interests of the owners of the rag tabloid NYPost. Then learn how to write. You've got some work to do.
Between Court and Smith December 04, 2013 at 4:28 AM
It is unfathomable how 'journalists' can in good conscience, and with not even the slightest reference to SUNY's near-criminal tactics, be so certain that SUNY-Downstate's take on this whole thing is the truth. Come to LICH, Mr McManus- step away from your computer and cellphone, pick up a pencil and paper and come interview those of us at LICH who are quietly trying to undo the damage-and lies- that SUNY has done in just two short years.In just one overnight night this week we got 15 admissions. Given the theft of resources we have suffered, the intentional bad publicity and unsupported column-fodder writers like yourself are so quick to spew,our high quality of care is doubly impressive. Come see for yourself
Mr. Mc Manus, You have continued to propagate the same lies SUNY has seeded out for months. You make no mention of the truths, that Beth Israel repeatedly stole money from Long Island College Hospital's endowment. You did not mention that SUNY Downstate 's residency program was on probation and LICH' s program pulled them out of trouble after the unfortunate merger. To help cripple LICH, SUNY closed the residency program and did no billing for patient care. Isn't it amazing that the numbers were in LICH's favor, once the truths were uncovered. Isn't it amazing that the courts have ruled in LICH's favor over and over again. You also failed to mention that SUNY continues to disobey court orders and refuse patients access to the hospital. You, Mr. McManus need to visit LICH and learn the truth before you are allowed access to the public.
Just so hilarious!
LICH is perfect for a Community Health Center and chronic care facility, similar to what gets run up in the Socialist State of Vermont. Where the concept is a major winner.

Chronic care is 2/3 of the overall bill that hits public funds. LICH can be converted to an OpenVistA controlled high-efficiency care facility.

Conversion ??? Typically a month for roll-out. There's a zillion VA and CHC operations using the system already.

Problem solved, s'il vous plaît ?

Nice to see a problem solution appear at a "conservative" web page.
Occupancy at approx. 4%?
Losing approx. $180M a year?
Prospects for further financial decline?

NBD. Just elect a spendthrift progressive pol' who's willing and even eager to ignore hard facts and data and let him keep raising taxes.

NYC is so screwed.
Mr. McManus,

Your prose needs to calm down. Paragraphs 1 and 2 are too clever by half. Couldn't read past them. Too bad; good story.
Great column. So spot on. Thank you for being one of the few people to see clearly and rationally through this mess.
Wow... editorial page of the NYPost. Impressive, lol. First, the Appellate Court has ruled against SUNY at every appeal to date. Read the Comptroller's Report on SUNY mismanagement and financial irregularity and failure to implement the recommendations of its own consultants. Read the Red Hook Star Revues expose of the checkered past of Dr. Williams at GWU. Add the bold lies that SUNY did not take over LICH and immediately appraise the real estate and begin back-door Board discussions to sell it off, solve the financial hole they created years before the LICH acquisition. Indeed, the Berger Commission initially recommended consolidating SUNY to the LICH campus, and close the redundant, outdated Clarkson hospital directly across the street from a just renovated HHC Kings County Hospital. LICH was at 90%+ census before they gutted the residency program and caused the mess they now face. Continuum Health Partners gutted LICH like they held an heiress hostage in a private, secluded room and shamelessly shook her down like a casino fleeces a gambling addict. They squandered the Othmer bequest, sold off assets, cherry picked self pay and private insured patients and then dumped LICH on SUNY. So save your lame analysis for your old tabloid rag, and pray you or a loved one doesn't require emergency medical care in Brownstone or Downtown Brooklyn. Those holiday traffic jams to Manhattan can be rough.