State grant helps Downstate acquire LICH

Gov. David Paterson on Oct. 14 announced that the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn has been awarded a $40 million grant to acquire and operate Long Island College Hospital (LICH), another Brooklyn hospital.

The grant enables LICH to become a second Downstate campus, expanding Downstate’s capacity to meet the expected growth in demand for inpatient services and specialized care.

“One of our main health care goals is to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to high quality care in their communities,” Paterson told reporters at a ceremony at LICH.

“The HEAL grant is an important investment in the future of health care in Brooklyn and will allow SUNY Downstate to create another campus to better serve local residents and continue to train the next generation of physicians,” he added.

Paterson said the grants awarded in October 2009 will also assist SUNY Downstate in retiring LICH debt and in the payment of costs associated with the integration of clinical and financial operations between SUNY Downstate and Continuum Health Partners, which managed LICH.

Through the existing academic partnership, many physicians working at LICH already hold academic appointments at Downstate.

Paterson said the agreement will ensure that Downstate retains teaching slots for its students and residents and added that it will also bring Downstate’s bed count in line with those of other academic medical centers.

LICH and Downstate’s teaching hospital, UHB, will operate as a single hospital with two campuses, ptarson added.

SUNY Downstate president, John C. LaRosa, said the agreement with Continuum represents a significant step forward.

“This agreement will also strengthen Downstate’s education and training mission and preserve Downstate’s standing as the hub of medical education in Brooklyn,” he said.

“Equally important, critically needed healthcare services in Brooklyn will be safeguarded,” he added.

Long Island College Hospital has experienced financial difficulties during the past several years, and the state has been actively involved in discussions to maintain it as an active health care facility in the community.

“By keeping LICH open, we ensure that essential services, like emergency room, ambulance, obstetrics, pediatric, cardiac and stroke care, are well maintained, and we save jobs not only at LICH but in the surrounding restaurants and retail establishments that depend on it,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.