Friday, September 2, 2011
LICH was taken over by SUNY Downstate some weeks ago. But by outward appearance at least, its cleanliness standards have sunk.
Here are some pictures of the outside of the LICH buildings between Amity and Congress streets. Garbage, more garbage, weeds, graffiti, more weeds, more garbage.
Inside the hospital: surely the surgeons still scrub there, although I haven't actually checked.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
The scandal of outlandishly high salaries at "non-profit" hospitals extends way beyond LICH. Here are some excerpts from a recent column by Jim Dwyer in the New York Times:
At Bronx-Lebanon, a hospital that exists only by the grace and taxed fortunes of the people of New York State, the chief executive was paid $4.8 million in 2007 and $3.6 million in 2008, records show. At NewYork-Presbyterian, a hospital system that receives nearly half a billion dollars annually in public money, the chief executive was paid $9.8 million in 2007 and $2.8 million in 2008.But let's get back to LICH, or rather to Continuum Health Partners, which runs LICH. Here we have data that though a bit outdated is still more current than Jim Dwyer's. Non-profit entities are required to file annual reports to the IRS, including (Schedule J) an accounting of top salaries. I produce this schedule from Continuum's 2009 report, the latest available, below:
In an urgent search to cut the state’s health care costs and lift revenue, a task force came up with a plan to increase the cost of a hospital stay by $5 and to limit housekeeping services for the disabled in their homes.
One area of plump costs, however, remained undisturbed: executive suites where salaries and compensation run into the millions of dollars, even at the most financially struggling hospitals.
Sorry -- I worked on this technical problem for a while but I just couldn't make these figures large enough to read easily. So here are some highlights, figures for Continuum employees who, hm, earned more than a million dollars for the year:
Chandra Sen, MD, $2,109,204
Stanley Brezenoff, $2,014,413
Kathryn C. Meyer, Esq. $1,049,807
John Collura, $1,307,556
Gail Donovan, $1,365,354
Of course this leaves out a host of others who, hm, earned in the upper six digits. For instance ? Dr. Harris Nagler, $973,242
For the curious (that should be YOU), here is a link to Continuum's 2009 Form 990. (You may be asked by GuideStar to register, but this is free of charge.)
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Friday, December 31, 2010
On Day Five of the snow storm, all New York homeowners have long ago managed to clear their sidewalks. We are a considerate bunch. We wouldn't want grandma to fall and break her neck because of any fault of ours. None of us would. None ? Well, there is always LICH, at its building of 387 Hicks, which is, as LICH bigwigs like to boast, exceptional.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
"Property owners must keep their sidewalks clean and are also responsible for snow removal."
And here are the facts (pictures taken outside LICH buildings on Hicks Street near Amity, 9/3/10):
Thursday, June 24, 2010
As I have had numerous occasions to remark, LICH does a nice job of landscaping. In particular I like the two separated individual rose bushes on Hicks Street. The picture here is of the one to the south, close to the corner of Amity Street. It is a beautiful bush, here shown as of today, out of its prime blooming season, but there is still one bloom on top (and, I believe, another one toward the bottom).
Rita and I enjoy these roses each time we pass by. But here is a question: why are these roses so lonely ? By adding another few bushes, it would seem, the result could be truly fantastic. Does it really take that much more effort to care for, say, five bushes than for one ?
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
September 1, 2009
Dear Fellow Members of the Medical Staff of Long Island College Hospital:
Now that the summer is coming to an end and we are all focusing on the coming year, we are taking this opportunity to provide you with an update on the progress that we have made on our objective to separate LICH from Continuum and re-establish LICH’s independence.
Rumors that a Downstate Merger is Imminent are FALSE. We are well aware of the rumors that have been circulating that the LICH/Downstate merger is basically a “done deal”. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE.
The so-called Memorandum of Understanding that has been signed between the two hospitals has not been made available to us or the public, but we know that it is little more than a statement that the parties would like to come to terms on a deal.
Key Business Issues Have Not Been Resolved. We also know for a fact that there are many critical deal points that must be resolved before a merger can be completed including allocations of very significant expenses and professional liability exposure. There are issues relating to the Othmer Endowment. There will be issues since Downstate and LICH are served by different Unions. Sharing of systems and resources must be worked out. And the list goes on. It is quite possible that the parties will not be able to come to terms on these issues.
Numerous Approvals Required Any purported deal between Downstate and LICH require the approval of, among others:
• New York State Department of Health (DOH) • Public Health Council • Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) • State University of New York (SUNY) • New York State Attorney General and Supreme Court • Medicare Program • Medicaid Program • Board of Regents of LICH
NONE OF THESE APPROVALS HAVE BEEN OBTAINED AND, IN FACT, SINCE NO FINAL DEAL HAS BEEN AGREED TO BETWEEN LICH AND DOWNSTATE, NO REQUEST FOR APPROVAL HAS EVEN BEEN SUBMITTED TO ANY OF THESE ENTITIES. Even if LICH and
Downstate are able to come to terms on a deal, it is quite likely that some or all of these approvals will be denied. If approval is sought, we, the Medical Staff will have an opportunity to express our concerns and object to the plan. There are significant reasons why approvals may not be granted.
Very Positive Meeting with the DOH. IMPORTANTLY, we met with very senior level DOH officials on August 6, 2009 to discuss the Medical Staff’s position on the future of LICH and the Downstate proposal in particular. These officials have made it absolutely clear that the DOH understands that the continued existence of LICH under any plan will not be financially feasible without the full support of the Medical Staff and accordingly, THE APPROVAL OF THE MEDICAL STAFF IS CRITICAL to obtaining the approval of the DOH. In fact, the DOH has committed to use its influence to orchestrate a meeting between the Medical Staff Executive Committee and its advisors with Downstate to discuss what terms, if any, would be acceptable to the Medical Staff for an affiliation. As per the petition that we signed, we have and will continue to make it clear that we will not agree to any plan that does not result in re-establishing LICH as an independent institution.
Memorandum Summarizing the Improper Constitution of the Current LICH Board. The DOH has asked our attorneys to prepare a written summary of the reasons why the current LICH Board is improperly constituted and the Continuum takeover of LICH was improper. Our attorneys are in the process of preparing such Memorandum and have advised us that there are many grounds for making such determination that the Board is improper.
Appointment of a New Board for LICH In furtherance of our plan, we have selected and obtained the commitment of 10 highly qualified nominees to reconstitute the Board of LICH. We have submitted their names and CVs and other credentials to the DOH for their review. A copy of such submission is attached to this letter for your information.
Status of Our Plan. At this point, if the Downstate proposal is not approved, the only other plan that has been submitted to the DOH and others is the carefully prepared and analyzed plan presented by the team of professionals retained by the Medical Staff. While the DOH has not yet ruled on the plan since it has not been submitted by the LICH Board, we are confident that if the Downstate deal is not approved, the DOH will find our plan to be the only other feasible and acceptable plan for approval.
Application for HEAL Grant. We have prepared and submitted an application on behalf of LICH for a $15 million HEAL grant to be used in furtherance of the Hospital’s needs in accordance with our plan.
We look forward to meeting with you in early September, at which time we will be able to give you further updates and answer any questions that might occur. In the meantime, we implore you not to fall victim to believing rumors that are being circulated to induce you to passively fall in line and accept the Downstate proposal. A Downstate takeover would doom LICH. The only workable solution remains establishing an independent LICH with a possible affiliation with Downstate on terms acceptable to the independent LICH. STAY THE COURSE - WE WILL GET THERE IF WE REMAIN UNITED AND COMMITTED TO RETURNING LICH TO ITS FORMER INDEPENDENT STATUS.
Sincerely, The Medical Staff Legal Committee
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Denis Hamill of the Daily News has a fulsome report. To read it, click here.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
According to Barbara Benson (Crain's Health Pulse, Jan. 23), Continuum has put some of LICH's real estate up for sale.
Offered by Grubb & Ellis on an all-cash basis, the properties include 74, 76-78, 82 and 86 Amity St., and 113 Congress St. Of those, 74 Amity is a 12-unit walk-up apartment house; the others are townhouses. Also for sale is 43 Columbia Place, a four-story, 11-unit walkup. The last is 385-389 Hicks St., a one-building site that can be developed to about 23,000 square feet. Most of the buildings are vacant or will be by July.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Update from the LICH Medical StaffSince there has been very little “official” activity on the LICH front in the past month, we have decided to provide an update of recent activity and events regarding LICH.
As you are all probably aware, in December 2008 the NY State Dept. of Health refused to allow the proposal by Continuum Health Partners (CHP) to close the Obstetrics and Pediatrics programs at LICH, and these departments, as well as all other services at LICH, are still fully functioning.
The LICH Medical Staff, at its quarterly meeting in December, unanimously passed a resolution demanding that CHP send out a letter to the Brooklyn community in this regard, in an effort to counteract the extreme negative publicity generated by the letter that CHP sent out in August 2008 announcing the proposed closures.
CHP has repeatedly refused to send out such a letter, and CHP CEO Stanley Brezinoff stated as recently as Jan. 5, 2008 at the LICH Medical Executive Meeting, that such a letter “Will not be sent”. Although the LICH Medical Staff offered to send such a letter out to the Brooklyn community at its own expense, if provided the database for the mailing, this request was denied as well.
In December 2008, the Chairmen of the Departments at LICH proposed to the CHP Board that all property sales and proposed program closures by CHP be halted until the NY State Dept. of Health makes its final determination regarding LICH. This proposal was voted against by every Manhattan-based CHP Board member, as well as by Board members Joseph Broadwin and Patrick Burns, who are a few of the remaining so-called LICH Board members. Mr. Broadwin is in fact part of a group calling themselves the “Ad-Hoc Committee for LICH”, but this group is clearly driven by its CHP ties and is not acting in the best interest of LICH.
John Wren, the titular “Chairman of the LICH/CHP Board”, has not been heard from in at least six months and clearly has abdicated any responsibility regarding LICH.
There is currently very little if any LICH voice on the CHP Board.
CHP CEO Stanley Brezinoff, who stated in August 2008 that if his plan to “close OB, Peds, and sell real estate” was not accepted, he would close LICH by year’s end, now says that “LICH will not be part of CHP, but if LICH is not merged with Downstate Medical Center, which I’m working on, it will close”.
CHP continues to attempt to sell off LICH properties – several LICH brownstones have recently been summarily emptied.
The LICH Medical Staff and its team is in active, ongoing discussions with the NY State Department of Health, DASNY (Dormitory Authority of the State of New York) and HUD (the holders of the LICH property mortgages), as well as the NY State Attorney General, and we have presented our plan for the preservation (and liberation) of LICH. These discussions have been constructive and well received by the authorities, and we are hoping to report a positive outcome in the very near future.
We still need support from all of you – the community, the elected officials, physicians and staff at LICH, and everybody else – we need letters, emails, meetings, articles, press contacts, etc……… the more you do, the better for LICH!
Thanking you all for your support of LICH, and hoping for a Happy New Year in the very near future for LICH.
The Medical Staff of LICH
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Mr. Brezenoff, who has made all the policy statements more or less on his own, has certainly given the impression that it is he, and nobody else, who is in charge. But, at least in form, he is but a paid servant of LICH, with but one seat on the Board. Where in all this is the legally-responsible Board ? Where is Mr. Wren ? What does Mr. Wren have to say about the important policy decisions that lie ahead for LICH ?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Well, local officials, local activists, the medical staff of LICH, and many others organized to tell the State government that LICH should remain whole. And what do you know, the State listened, and decreed that yes, Mr. B., there is so a Plan B: the hospital will retain the services that Mr. B. had decided he would not.
For the text of the NYC Department of Health decision, click here.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Murray Adams has a personal view based on his feelings for what is best for LICH. However, he gives the wrong impression by characterizing the medical staff as being fractionated. All of the steps both leading to what is referred to as "the Doctor's Plan" as well as our public postures represent the nearly unanimous position of the Organized Medical Staff of LICH as voted on at our monthly Medical Executive Committee Meetings.
Murray makes it seem as if the LICH Medical Staff has no interest in a relationship with Downstate. That is not true. However we believe that any relationship with another institution including Downstate must include the Medical Staff as a full assenting partner. Murray's plan has LICH being handed over to Downstate as so much chattel without negotiation and without the involvement of the Organized Medical Staff. More bizarrely Murray's plan would have the current Continuum Board select the members of a new LICH Board. We have had 10 years of governance by a Continuum Board and cannot imagine having them appoint our new governing body.
There are indeed some physicians who, for whatever reason, are not in agreement with the majority opinion but they speak as individuals and not as representatives of the Organized Medical Staff and it's elected officers.
You may post this on your blog if you wish.
Arnold L. Licht, MD
President of the Organized Medical Staff
Long Island College Hospital
All of us owe a vote of thanks to Borough President Marty Markowitz for convening the hearing held at Borough Hall on Monday night. Inexplicably no one from the NYS Department of Health showed up. Fortunately, all of our local elected officials or their representatives were there to hear so many of our neighbors, our doctors, LICH’s employees and others who testified movingly and forcefully about the necessity for preserving Long Island College Hospital as an Brooklyn-managed major community hospital having all its present services, especially including Obstetrics and Pediatrics to serve our growing neighborhoods and the many young families with young children who crowd our sidewalks.
Unfortunately the top elected officials of the medical staff, Dr. Licht and Dr. Sorra, and other physicians such as Dr. Ricciardi, all of whose medical practices are office-based and who rarely if ever admit patients to LICH, do not agree with the plan I outlined to immediately affiliate LICH with SUNY Downstate. The Medical Staff Plan submitted to the Department of Health proposed that LICH re- establish itself as an independent hospital. Drs. Licht and Sorra however acknowledge the long-existing academic affiliation between the two institutions and agree that ultimately to enter into a management affiliation with Downstate or another large system might make sense.
On the other hand, I, several of the Brooklyn-based LICH trustees, including Rev. Dr. Paul Smith, Dr. Mike Avram, Joseph Broadwin and Lou Valentino, and most of the doctors whose practices, like Ciril Godec’s in urology, depends heavily on LICH’s surgical suites or, like Deborah Reade’s in radiology, depends heavily on LICH’s specialty equipment, do not believe that LICH can survive and rebuild as an independent hospital without affiliation with a major medical center such as SUNY Downstate.
I emphasize, however, that all of us are in full agreement that Continuum’s management of LICH must be terminated. Our major problem now is getting the Department of Health to turn down Continuum’s plan to close OB, inpatient Pediatrics, and Dentistry, bringing LICH’s management back to Brooklyn under a Brooklyn-based Board of Regents, and getting the DOH and our local elected officials to help us get Downstate to take over the management of LICH and its OB beds and getting help from them and HUD to make the takeover financially possible for Downstate. And it better come soon, or with Continuum continuing to shut down programs such as the school based clinics and the rape crisis intervention program and to fire large numbers of LICH employees, there will be nothing left of LICH to salvage.
C. Murray Adams
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Murray Adams, a prominent personality in Cobble Hill and former president of the Cobble Hill Association, has presented a plan to save LICH at a public hearing last night. Here is his submission:
TESTIMONY OF C. MURRAY ADAMS, ON BEHALF OF
THE COBBLE HILL ASSOCIATION
November 10, 2008
My name is Murray Adams, and I speak on behalf of the Cobble Hill Association, a civic association which represents the interests of the residents of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where The Long Island College Hospital has been providing medical care for 150 years. The people of our community believe that the real reason behind Continuum Health Partners’ announced plans to close LICH’s Obstetrics and in-patient Pediatrics services, its Dentistry program and its school based clinics program is to close LICH entirely so they can sell off LICH’s valuable real estate to benefit Continuum’s Manhattan hospitals. This must not be allowed to happen!
Late in August, 2008, the Medical Staff of LICH filed a plan with the New York State Department of Health to revitalize LICH without closing any of these services and by returning LICH’s management to an independent group of Brooklyn-based trustees. That plan is a good plan, but it must be supplemented because it does not provide working capital which LICH must have in order to finance the transition and the rebuilding of the Hospital. Although the Medical Staff leadership has retained an investment banking firm to help obtain financing, given the present collapse of the credit markets, we do not think it likely that they will obtain loans for the necessary working capital in the very short time remaining to save LICH. To make the Medical Staff plan feasible, in our opinion, it needs to be supplemented in three respects:
First, the Medical School at SUNY Downstate and the Department of Health must agree that the management of LICH must be moved to Downstate and LICH’s Obstetric beds must be moved under Downstate’s operating certificate. This would mean New York State would bear the losses and the malpractice premiums which now burden LICH. Continuum wants to close Obstetrics, because, according to Continuum’s figures, this would save LICH more than $13 million per year. It would cost the State about half that much because the State does not have to pay malpractice premiums. Obviously, if Downstate continues to operate the Obstetrics beds at LICH where they are, there will be no need to close inpatient Pediatrics or the school based clinics program or the Dentistry program.
Second, the Medical School at Downstate and the Department of Health must agree to Downstate’s entering into leases of several LICH buildings so that Downstate can move much of its medical school as well as its clinical practices over to LICH. These buildings are LICH’s Polhemus building, where until 1953 Downstate had its medical school; LICH’s Clinic Building; and much of LICH’s 97 Amity Street building. This would answer Downstate’s need to expand its medical school facilities. An annual lease rental of $15 million will offset $15 million of LICH’s annual debt service, and so take care of the second part of what Continuum’s “plan” says needs to be done to put LICH on a stable financial basis.
Third, we need our elected officials’ help in getting the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to defer for a reasonable period LICH’s debt service payments of about $2.5 million per month in order to provide LICH with working capital essential to LICH’s effort to restore itself. Also, LICH needs time to reconstitute and expand its primary care clinics, as the Medical Staff plan contemplates, and thereby rebuild LICH’s volume and its cash flow, which will probably take up to two years.
For the better health of all Brooklyn residents, Long Island College Hospital must be saved and restored as a premier Brooklyn health care institution. Brooklyn’s public health care standing is below New York City standards in almost every category, such as infant mortality per 1000 births, prevalence of asthma in children, incidence of heart disease, strokes, etc. The State would save money by setting up a Borough wide system of primary care clinics which would treat asthma, high blood pressure, breast cancer, high cholesterol conditions, nutrition problems, substance abuse and other common medical conditions that early intervention can treat much less expensively than if the patient arrives months or years later in a hospital emergency room and requires inpatient treatment because the untreated condition has become a major threat. We believe that what Brooklyn needs, as the Medical Staff Plan contemplates, is the establishment of a chain of Primary Care Clinics in the medically underserved areas of Brooklyn, such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Mill Basin and East New York, and the linking up of existing clinics in those and other underserved areas, such as the BHS Clinic in East New York and the Red Hook Health Center in Red Hook, with the combined tertiary care capabilities of Downstate/University Hospital and LICH. We believe federal funds can be obtained to help establish this network of clinics.
We understand that Continuum and Downstate are in negotiations which we hope will result in LICH’s management being returned to Brooklyn under Downstate’s management and supervised by a new Brooklyn-based Board of Regents. We urge the Borough President and all our local elected officials to take every step in their power to make this come about and save our hospital for the entire Brooklyn community.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The LICH Medical Staff website now has links to sign a petition in support of LICH,
as well as to send a letter to Governor Paterson - please sign the petition!
In addition, there is a link to download flyers for distribution to friends, neighbors and patients - print these and distribute!
LICH MEDICAL STAFF
A friend of LICH has also established a "Save LICH" group on Facebook,
the link is below.
To see more details and confirm this group invitation, follow this link.
Thank you all for your support of LICH!
LICH Medical Staff
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
This last Monday (Sept. 22) was a remarkable day for LICH. The public was invited to a meeting at LICH, sponsored by Community Board Six, that featured a spirited, forceful address by Stanley Brezenoff. Mr. Brezenoff is the President and CEO of Continuum Health Partners, the non-profit management organization that is responsible for the executive functions of the hospital.
Mr. Brezenoff was blunt in what he had to say: 1) LICH is in a severe financial crisis (because there aren't enough patients); it is financially moribund. 2) It is my plan to cut out obstetrics and pediatrics, because these services lose money. Those steps will revive this near-death patient. 3) This is my plan. There is no plan B. Take it or leave it.
Mr. Brezenoff's remarks and those of his questioners are well reported on the website of the (dissident) medical staff. This site, highly critical of Mr. B. and his management, needs to be consulted by anyone interested in the hospital.
I sat in the audience, taking it all in, but my thoughts were on matters that nobody mentioned, although they had, indeed, been mentioned by the dissident medical staff before: if LICH is in such dire straights, why are the executive salaries so high ? According to the Daily News, LICH's doctors want cuts in executive pay.
Like everything else, executive salaries are relative. This blog has previously reported on the salary of the recently-resigned LICH president Ms. Rita Battles (whose name, curiously, was never mentioned at this meeting), and also, for comparative purposes, the salary of Alan D. Aviles, the man who runs the city hospital system. (see my postings of November 14, 2007 and others.) In brief, while Ms. Battles was paid approximately $700,000, Mr. Aviles, responsible for a far more extensive operation, earned but $291,000.
Continuum Health Partners manages several other hospitals in addition to LICH, so Mr. Brezenoff's salary, presumably, is not paid by LICH alone. Still, it is an interesting figure. Now like all other not-for-profits, Continuum is required to report its top salaries to the IRS on form IRS990. These reports are publicly available online, for instance on the site of GuideStar.
People should more often examine these reports about the non profits that they support. In the case of Continuum, the latest report covers the year 2006. In that year, Mr. Brezenoff was paid a total of $1,442,412, or, roughly, just about five times the sum paid to Mr. Aviles, whose job, remember, is far more extensive than Mr. B's.