OPINION: Former LICH ombudsman endorses Chinese Community Group’s proposal


March 28, 2014 By Jonjack Berall, M.D., M.P.H For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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At Tuesday evening’s gathering at St. Francis College regarding the future of LICH, four bids contained proposals for full-service hospitals.

Two of these four bids have provisions for 100-bed hospitals and a new hospital that would have to be built. In one of the plans, the new facility would take an estimated nine to 10 years to be completed. In the other, construction would begin in two or three years. The result would be many years with a 100-bed hospital where LICH now stands, still proudly.

Builders’ plans change – the plans for the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan contained an allocation of 100,000 square feet for medical use, but that never happened.

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Because a 100-bed hospital is not large enough to provide a full-service, acute-care facility in a downtown metropolitan area, the 460,000 people being served by LICH and LICH’s emergency room, which sees 60,000 people each year, will be poorly served. And nearby hospitals will be overrun.

LICH was a 250-bed, full-service acute care hospital until 11 months ago. In the past, it was 90 percent occupied.

The Chinese Community Accountable Care Organization’s (CCACO) bid starts with a 150-bed hospital that would increase to 200 beds in the first year and 250 beds in the second year. Its plan is to use the present buildings and re-establish the hospital, then consider other uses for available space and nearby properties.

CCACO’s focus is on the hospital. The other bids are focused on real estate. The group is made up of 250 local doctors and administrators. The members of the group live here, work here and raise their families here.

CCACO’s approach is to keep the LICH staffers who remain and invite those who left to return, including senior administrators. A fast and smooth transition, compared to the upheavals that would results from an outside management team that lives in Indiana or Atlanta and has never before visited Brooklyn, is assured.

There can be no question that their energy and focus on making LICH vibrant and excellent once again will be dramatically different from the energy of the condo builders (to reduce the medical elements) or the professional hospital rejuvinators, for whom this is just another piece to play with on the board of their game.

Jonjack Berall, M.D., M.P.H., Lt. Cmdr (Ret.)

Past Ombudsman, Long Island College Hospital

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