Fort Greene

Brooklyn Hospital Center gala raises $1.7 million to expand ER

July 8, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Real estate-themed event

The Brooklyn Hospital Center Foundation said on Monday that its annual gala raised $1.7 million, which will go towards funding the expansion and renovation of its emergency department and pediatric care areas.

“The support we have received from this event will go right back into providing Brooklyn residents with award-winning, high-quality healthcare,” said The Brooklyn Hospital Center CEO Dr. Richard Becker. “This was truly a one-of-a-kind philanthropic event that will have a direct impact on the health of Brooklyn families who rely on our comprehensive primary and specialty care services.”

Real estate was the theme of the gala. Ofer Cohen, founder and president of TerraCRG, served as event chair. Honorees included Bruce E. Mosler, chairman of Global Brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield (2014 Founders Medalist), and Dr. Patrick E. Leblanc, director of Neonatology at The Brooklyn Hospital Center (Foundation’s Walter E. Reed Medal).

NY1 anchor and Williamsburg resident Pat Kiernan hosted a live session of a Monopoly-style contest complete with options to “purchase” local real estate and brand monuments on a dance floor-sized game board. According to a release, each guest left the gala at the Marriot at Brooklyn Bridge with a boxed game set ready to play at home.

ER crisis since LICH closure

Brooklyn Hospital’s plans to reconfigure and expand the emergency department received contingent approval from the state Department of Health (DOH) in 2010. The work was estimated at that time to cost $5,310,850. The renovation plans haven’t been finalized yet, a Brooklyn Hospital spokesperson said Monday.

Brooklyn Hospital’s emergency department has been hit with thousands of additional visits since the State University of New York (SUNY) began shutting down Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill in January 2013. Emergency rooms at other Brooklyn hospitals have also been swamped, and waiting times for hospital admission have increased.

During the first four months of 2014, LICH handled 10,324 fewer ER visits as compared to the first four months of 2013, when SUNY began cutting back LICH’s patient flow. The health outcome of diverted LICH patients is unknown, but other Brooklyn ERs have seen a surge in ER visits.

Brooklyn Hospital’s emergency department handled 22,000 patients during the first four months of 2014, up 1,841 from the same period last year, according to DOH.

According to New York Methodist in Park Slope, their emergency department also saw an increase — of 1,330 during the same four months. NY Methodist has plans to greatly enlarge their ambulatory care areas.

Raising concern among residents of northwest Brooklyn, a plan to carry out a study of the health needs of the area has been dropped. This survey was to be part of a deal to sell LICH being negotiated between SUNY and developer Don Peebles, but SUNY ended negotiations with Peebles and sold the hospital campus to Fortis Property Group instead.

Fortis plans to develop the complex as residential, but will lease space to NYU-Langone for a “stand-alone” ER, clinics and doctors’ offices.

Though community groups tried desperately to save the hospital, its Cobble Hill real estate proved too attractive to developers. Since LICH was lost in what many consider a “real estate grab,” Brooklyn Hospital’s choice of a real-estate theme for its gala was considered questionable by a number of community members.

Brooklyn Hospital Center partnered with developer Related Companies and Blue Wolf Capital in its own bid to operate a feeder clinic at the LICH site, but lost to Fortis.