Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DOH denies LICH permission to end services

There is major news on the LICH front: the NYS Department of Health has denied LICH permission to close their obstetrics, neonatal, and pediatric services. Permission was also denied for closing their school-based health programs. (DOH permission is required to open or close medical services.) From the DOH's November 17 letter to LICH:
'Currently there is insufficient capacity in the hospitals immediately around LICH and in much of Brooklyn to clearly demonstrate that women will have appropriate access to obstetrical and maternity care if LICH closes these services. Until there is greater clarity on this issue the Department believes it is in the best interest of public health that obstetrical and neonatal services be retained at LICH.'
This is a victory, but the community is not in the clear yet, not by a longshot. Stanley Brezenoff of Continuum has reportedly said that, if the state refused these closures, LICH would go into bankruptcy by year's end. Perhaps heading Continuum off at the pass, DOH has also approved LICH's request for 'a $3 million loan from the health care restructuring pool'. (Those of you at last week's CHA general meeting may recall my question to LICH CEO Dominick Stanzione about restructuring grants. This is what I was asking about.)

We are relieved that the state has denied LICH permission to close services, but now the pressure is even greater for an outcome. We are in the eleventh month of the year and at the eleventh hour. If LICH is going to avoid bankruptcy, the State has to be prepared to act decisively, as will the various negotiating parties of the various plans (the SUNY Downstate plan, the doctors' plan, etc.).

We will send a new letter to Governor Paterson and all our elected officials. We encourage you to do the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Giving 3 million dollars to the same misMANAGERS is not realistic. The management of CONTINUUM Health Partners and of LICH must be replaced by a new team. There is a need to look at CEO salaries...