University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital

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Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, 2010
Polhemus Memorial Clinic, Brooklyn, NY, c. 1897

University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital (or LICH) is a 506-bed, teaching hospital located in the Brooklyn Heights/ Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.


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.

The Polhemus Memorial Clinic, an eight-story 1897 tower that was part LICH until July 2008, is considered to be the first example of skyscraper hospital, anywhere in the world.[1]

The hospital was affiliated with the Continuum Health Partners.[citation needed]

Merger with SUNY[edit]

As of 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. Current hospital staff include "1,000 social workers, patient care technicians, radiologists and other unionized workers as well as 435 full- and part-time nurses."[2]


Less than two years later, on February 8, 2013, the Trustees of the State University of New York voted to close the hospital.[3] 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. [4] On April 1, 2013, for a second time the closing of the hospital was stalled in court.[5]

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.[2] 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.".[8]

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.[9][10]

Bid process and development plans[edit]

Once the dust the settled 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 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.[11]

At the time, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio opposed the Fortis plan because it did not contain a full hospital and had too much luxury housing.[12] Community organizations and SUNY decided to withdraw the bids and reopen the process to capture bids that would give the "community what it wanted."[12] 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.[13]

In January 2014, SUNY called for revamped bids to reflect the wants of the community and expectations of SUNY[14][15]

The winning bidder of the 2014 bidding process was Brooklyn Health Partners,[16] which said it would operate a 300- to 400-bed hospital on the site. The BHP bid seemed ambitious to some, and has skeptics doubting that the deal will actually 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."[17] 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."[18] 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 or 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[19] calling into question the efficacy of the entire process.

On May 5, 2014, SUNY issued a notice stating that the Brooklyn Health Partners failed to complete the terms of the agreement and had decided to move on to the next highest bidder.[20] BHP suggested that it will now sue SUNY to prevent it from negotiating with the runner-up.[21]

On May 6, 2014, SUNY began negotiating with The Peebles Corporation.[22] 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.[23] 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.[22][24] 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, 2014, 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.[25] That ruling had been deemed confusing by various parties to the issue and by the media. The New York Daily News claimed that Baynes turned the matter into a "circus",[26] and the New York Post called the actions of the judge, "lunacy".[27] 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,[28] and it stressed it once again.[27]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Korom, Joseph (2008). The American Skyscraper, 1850-1940. Branden Books. ISBN 0828321884, ISBN 978-0-8283-2188-4.  pp. 222
  2. ^ a b "Nurses Roam Empty Halls as Long Island College Hospital Is Prepared to Close," New York Times. Accessed: July 19, 2013.
  3. ^ Long Island College Hospital to close New York Daily News
  4. ^ "SUNY Board Votes Again To Close Down Long Island College Hospital". CBS New York. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Closing Of Long Island College Hospital Stalled Once Again In Court". NY1. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Long Island College Hospital Remains Open As Legal Jousting Continues". NY1. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  7. ^ SUNY, Downstate. "Request for Proposal X002539/SUNY Downstate - LICH". Brooklyn Heights Association. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Kusisto, Laura (20 August 2013). "Judge Upends Closure of Long Island College Hospital". Wall Street Journal. 
  9. ^ Brush, Pete (13 September 2013). "Judge Invalidates SUNY's Latest LICH-Closure Proposal". Law 360. 
  10. ^ Brush, Pete (15 October 2013). "SUNY Plan To Close Ailing Brooklyn Hospital Ruled Invalid". Law 360. 
  11. ^ Chin, Heather (18 December 2013). "LICH trustees put off vote on sale to condo/medical mall developer". Brooklyn Spectator. 
  12. ^ a b Karni, Anni (13 January 2013). "Brooklyn Hospital, developer offer to buy cash-strapped Long Island College Hospital Read more:". 
  13. ^ Benson, Barbara (8 January 2014). "Brooklyn Hospital makes bid for LICH". Crain's. 
  14. ^ Frost, Mary (3 February 2014). "Developers submit second round of LICH bids to SUNY". Brooklyn Heights Press/Daily Eagle. 
  15. ^ McCabe, Kevin (29 January 2014). "Long Island College Hospital bidding process reopens". News 12 Long Island. 
  16. ^ Kusisto, Laura (3 April 2014). "Winning Bid Sees a Future for Long Island College Hospital". Wall Street Journal. 
  17. ^ Maurer, Mark (28 April 2014). "Brooklyn Health estimate for Cobble Hill hospital way off: suit". Real Deal and Crain's. 
  18. ^ Powell, Michael (28 April 2014). "Reconsidering the Saviors of a Hospital". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Dan Goldberg and, Laura Nahmias (28 April 2014). "The odd math behind the LICH bidding process". Capital New York. 
  20. ^ Pincus, Adam (5 May 2014). "Top bidder rejected for Cobble Hill hospital redevelopment". The Real Deal. 
  21. ^ Frost, Mary (6 May 2014). "Rejected LICH bidder to sue SUNY on Tuesday in Brooklyn". Brooklyn Eagle. 
  22. ^ a b Dailey, Jessica (6 May 2014). "LICH Rejects Winning Developer, Gets Hit With New Lawsuit". Curbed. 
  23. ^ Frost, Mary (9 May 2014). "Brooklyn Health Partners still in the game? $25 million check returned late Friday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 
  24. ^ Frost, Mary (8 May 2014). "Legal action over SUNY scoring could shake up LICH bids in Brooklyn". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 
  25. ^ Goldberg, Dan (15 May 2014). "Ruling throws LICH process into (further) chaos". Capital NY. 
  26. ^ Editorial (16 May 2014). "LICH follies". NYDN. 
  27. ^ a b Editorial (18 May 2014). "You be the judge". New York Post. 
  28. ^ Editorial (12 May 2014). "Send Out the Clowns". New York Post. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°41′23″N 73°59′48.3″W / 40.68972°N 73.996750°W / 40.68972; -73.996750