Elected officials ask Cuomo to lift the curtain on LICH takeover process
Want public release of RFP respondents, proposals to SUNY
Expressing concern with the secrecy surrounding SUNY Downstate’s process of finding a new operator for Long Island College Hospital (LICH), Brooklyn officials sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday with a list of requests “to facilitate a more transparent, impartial, and inclusive Request for Proposals (RFP) process.”
Residents and elected officials have been complaining for months that SUNY, in the midst of a ferocious legal battle as it tries to close LICH, has refused to reveal to stakeholders or local representatives the names of those responding to its RFP.
Officials say they want the “public release of all information on the existing proposals and applicants of the RFP, as well as a full list of the RFP requirements and selection criteria.”
They also want the RFP process to be handed over to the court system, and are asking for a comprehensive public review process.
Officials also told the Governor that the RFP should be re-opened “should no viable, existing applicants include a full service hospital.”
Health advocates fear that cash-strapped SUNY Downstate has made a decision many consider crucial to the future of western Brooklyn based on “monetizing” LICH’s valuable real estate holdings, rather than taking the needs of the fast-growing area into account.
LICH serves a swath of northwestern Brooklyn that includes neighborhoods from Red Hook to Williamsburg, including Downtown Brooklyn.
At one point dozens of health organizations were said to be interested in taking over the historic Brooklyn hospital, but no information about these groups or their plans for the facility were ever released to the public or to elected officials.
Officials signing the letter include Council Member Stephen Levin, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, and Council Member Brad Lander.
The letter is reprinted below:
Dear Governor Cuomo,
As the representatives of thousands of Brooklyn residents who depend on Long Island College Hospital and the care it provides, we are writing to voice our concerns about how the Request for Proposals (RFP) at the Hospital has been administered and encourage changes be made so that the process is transparent, impartial, and inclusive of the community.
Long Island College Hospital provides vital care to our constituents and without it we have grave fears for their health and the health of all of Brooklyn. Unfortunately, throughout the RFP process we have heard from our constituents time and time again that they are extremely frustrated by the lack of public information and no community stakeholder involvement.
An RFP process that is transparent, impartial, and includes the community is absolutely necessary. We want a process that has as its goal a full service hospital in the neighborhood that keeps our constituents healthy and saves lives. Therefore, we are making the following formal requests:
• We request the public release of all information on the existing proposals and applicants of the RFP, as well as a full list of the RFP requirements and selection criteria.
• We request that the entire RFP process be handed over to the court system and that the courts administer the process moving forward.
• We request that a comprehensive public review process be held regarding the RFP and that a community committee be created to evaluate all proposals that meet the minimum RFP requirements.
• We request that the RFP be re-opened should no viable, existing applicants include a full service hospital.
We cannot stress enough the seriousness of this issue in our community and hope that you share our values of transparency, impartiality, and community inclusiveness. Thank you for your consideration.
Stephen T. Levin, NYC Councilmember
Nydia M. Velázquez, Member of Congress
Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
Daniel Squadron, New York State Senator
Joan Millman, New York State Assemblywoman
Brad Lander, NYC Councilmember
CC: SUNY Chairman Carl McCall