Cobble Hill

Team bidding for LICH delivers $25 million, but contract not in the bag

Deadline is midnight Monday

May 5, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Long Island College Hospital sign by Mary Frost
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The team that won the bidding war for Brooklyn’s Long Island College Hospital (LICH) says they put it all on the line on Monday afternoon by delivering to SUNY and state Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes a check for $25 million and all the signed commitments demanded by SUNY.

Brooklyn Health Partners Development Group (BHP) spokesperson Donnette Dunbar told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday, “We sent out everything that SUNY required to SUNY, and the same to Justice Baynes, and we are delivering a check for $25 million to Justice Baynes.”

SUNY had required financial commitments and contracts with various health care entities for interim services by Monday, the deadline in the 30-day contract negotiation period.

In response to SUNY’s claims that it would make financial sense for BHP to lose its $250 million investment, let SUNY take back the hospital, and then “walk off with the rest of the real estate,” BHP revised the the deed “to prohibit development of those properties until the new hospital is completed and operating.”

SUNY has not yet commented, however, on whether it will sign a contract with BHP, which won SUNY’s revised Request for Proposals (RFP)  process with a bid promising to build a 300 to 400-bed hospital at the site.

Both the state and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have come out against BHP. On Friday in state Supreme Court, SUNY claimed that BHP was unable to fulfill the promises made in their proposal, including providing temporary “bridge” health services after SUNY walks away from the hospital on May 22.

SUNY also said that the group couldn’t provide documentation proving they have access to $600 million worth of financing.

The New York State Nurses Association, in a rare departure, agreed with SUNY, citing a letter BHP had written giving a fuzzy description of their proposed interim health care services.

“BHP might operate some limited interim services, through a physicians’ group or by working with a FQHC operator. BHP might simply prepare the premises for the Bridge Health Services to be offered upon closing” on November 6,” BHP wrote just days before the contract deadline.

On Friday, however, lawyers for BHP said they had firmed up their interim health plans, to go into effect soon after May 22.

According to documents obtained by the Brooklyn Eagle, BHP has submitted a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, which will serve as an operator of the bridge facility, and a signed Letter of Intent (LOI) from Garner Health, LLC, which will serve as the manager of the bridge facility.

In addition, BHP has signed a contract with QHR Intensive Resources, LLC (Quorum) which will perform administrative and consulting services to the bridge facility and the new hospital.

At state Supreme Court on Monday, BHP attorney Mark Zafria, with the law firm Michelman and Robinson, told the Eagle that BHP “spent an enormous amount of time bringing in health care providers into service over the weekend. The Joseph P. Addabbo center has an excellent reputation.”

Zafria said that LICH’s dialysis provider had agreed to stay on, and added that BHP was in negotiations with the not-for-profit PSCH to provide mental health care and drug treatment. PSCH serves 8,500 residents in all the boroughs except Manhattan. Zafria said treatment could include overnight stays.

The group would not be able to provide ER or intensive care, however, until (and if) it obtains a license from the state.

SUNY on Friday pushed to move on to the next bidder, investor Don Peebles, whose plan would not operate LICH as a hospital but would provide ambulatory services.

State Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes, however, pressed the two sides to continue negotiating until Monday’s deadline, and ordered both sides to provide paperwork the other side said was needed to complete the transaction.

Community members, hospital staff and officials, who have fought passionately against the state to keep the hospital open, have been anxiously awaiting the outcome of the negotiations. Letters have already gone out to patients saying that many services will stop on May 12 and the hospital doors will close on May 23. Hospitals across Brooklyn have been overcrowded, patients say, with patients left on stretchers in hallways.

BHP’s $250 million bid promises to keep LICH, a complex of roughly 20 buildings in Cobble Hill, open as a hospital while developing non-core properties. BHP has partnered with Brooklyn real estate developer Chaim Miller, who will own 49 percent of the project if the bid is successful, according to reports.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with information about BHP’s signed agreement with bridge facility operators.

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