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LICH bidding process moves forward

A new phase in the process of selecting a new owner/operator for Long Island College Hospital (LICH) has begun.

On Monday, March 3, potential bidders met with community stakeholders and their representatives to discuss what residents would like to see happen with the beleaguered hospital. Among the speakers were LICH medical staff, civic groups, legal representatives, elected officials and members of a specially selected panel that will review and rate the potential bids on behalf of neighborhood residents. This phase has been described as an “expedited [request for proposals/RFP] submission process, followed by a seven day selection period.”

On Friday, February 28, Public Advocate Letitia James appointed Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and Dr. Fred Hyde to join the community panel, which will have a 49 percent say in the review and selection of a new hospital owner.

“Red Hook will now have a seat at the table, providing a strong voice for the unique healthcare needs of our community,” said Menchaca, who represents the 38th Council District, which includes Red Hook, Sunset Park and South Park Slope.

Hyde, who serves as a clinical professor of health policy and management at Columbia University, has also served as CEO of nonprofit hospitals in Pennsylvania and Connecticut as well as of an HMO and has testified about SUNY Downstate’s Feasibility Plan.

Dr. John Romanelli, past president of LICH’s medical staff, was also appointed, by the staff advocacy group Concerned Physicians of LICH, which has long been advocating on behalf of staff, patients and the hospital as a full-service medical facility.

The RFP process is part of the settlement agreement between the state and LICH’s operator SUNY Downstate that allows SUNY to cease its management role by May 22 at the latest. A new buyer would ideally take control before then, but if not, then the 155-year-old Cobble Hill hospital would close until a buyer is found.

The state has set the starting bid at $210 million. LICH is a 20-building complex located on the border of Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights and sits on a valuable piece of Brooklyn waterfront real estate.

Current bids propose combination residential/healthcare development on the site with varying levels of affordable housing, and specialty and primary care facilities.

However, any bid that includes a full-service hospital would be rated more highly and given greater consideration.

Bidders include Fortis Property Group/NYU Langone Medical Center/Lutheran Family Health, Related Cos/Brooklyn Hospital Center, Don Peebles/Institute for Family Health, and Brisa Builders/Cornell Realty/Chetrit Group/Lutheran Medical Center.

The RFP period the lasts through Wednesday, March 19 at 3 p.m. and stakeholders/evaluators must then review and rank the proposals by Wednesday, March 26.

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