September 26, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Brooklyn, NY—Six days after N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center pulled out of an agreement to run Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn Heights, nurses with the New York State Nurses Association demanded that N.Y.U. follow through on a promise to restore ambulance services.
At a press conference outside the hospital on Wednesday afternoon the nurses were joined by community activists working to keep LICH from closing, patient advocates and elected officials.
Eliza Carboni, an area director for NYSNA, said the press conference was called to call on N.Y.U., as well as SUNY, the longstanding owner of LICH before selling the property, and Fortis Property group, the real estate company that paid $240 million for the property to build luxury condos, to live up to their commitments to maintain critical health care services at LICH.
She noted some of the promises that the entities haven’t lived up to.
“This fight was about not replacing health care services with luxury condos, and a big struggle in the RFP process was ensuring that [whoever purchased the LIHC site] provided for affordable housing; that was originally part of the N.Y.U. and Fortis bid and that is now gone,” said Carboni. “The second thing is bringing back a basic care life-support ambulances to the emergency department on September 1 and that hasn’t happened. The third thing is to preserve the excellent health care legacy of LICH nurses by continuing to employ current LICH employees.”
The Real Deal, the real estate publication covering NYC real estate, published a blog on September 22 quoting a state official that it’ll be impossible for another health care operator to operate LICH after N.Y.U. backing out. Carboni said there have been previous “impossible situations” over the last 18 months to preserve LICH.
“Let’s not forget that SUNY voted to close LICH on February 7, 2013 and that it should have closed on March 15, 2013. But here we are on September 2014 and there are still some services left at LICH. All we are saying is that we need to have a responsible health care operator who is committed to a heartbeat-to-heartbeat transfer of critical services and maximizing health care here at LICH,” said Carboni.
Julie Semente has been an RN at LICH for 32 years. She expressed her anger over N.Y.U. deciding to back out from operating LICH.
“I think the community and everyone involved in saving LICH has been hoodwinked. NYU had committed to maintain emergency medical services and bring back ambulances on September 1 and that hasn’t happened. We are calling on SUNY [still the current health care operator] to honor their obligations to maintain medical services in the emergency department at LICH,” said Semente.