Winning bidder for troubled Long Island College Hospital plans new facility

Brooklyn Health Partners edged out eight rivals with a $250 million bid for troubled Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood.

The winning offer in the court-ordered bidding process, unlike some others, pledged to continue inpatient and emergency services at the site, something for which community groups had been actively and vocally campaigning.

The State University of New York, which has owned the financially ailing hospital since 2011, could turn over the facility to Brooklyn Health Partners in late May under the deal, which comes after a contentious and political fight over the 697-bed hospital's fate.

The new owner, however, may need to secure a hospital operating license from the state of New York to open a hospital on the site.

Community groups that have fought to keep the hospital open support Brooklyn Health Partners' bid for a state hospital license. “The community is fully supportive of Brooklyn Health Partners' attempt to take over LICH and run it as a full service hospital,” said the groups' attorney Jim Walden. “We have been meeting throughout the day to find ways to help advance that ball.”

“We have a goal,” said H. Carl McCall, chairman of the SUNY board of trustees, during a hearing where the winner was announced. “And our goal is to exit LICH, to leave it in the hands of an operator who will provide medical services to the community and allow us to return to and not be distracted from our core mission” of medical education and services at nearby SUNY Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn.

Long Island College Hospital's struggling operations contributed significantly to financial distress among SUNY's teaching hospital operations following its May 2011 acquisition, the Office of the New York State Comptroller said early last year.

Brooklyn Health Partners, which employs a real estate developer as its CEO and hospital consultants Quorum Health Resources as management, submitted a winning bid that was $10 million less than the highest offer, but included plans for a 300- to 400-bed hospital.

Bidders were evaluated on criteria that favored proposals that included inpatient, critical care and emergency room services. Criteria also included SUNY's exit from hospital operations in late May and a minimum cash bid of $210 million.

The Brooklyn Health Partners' proposal also includes development of residential, retail and medical office space in the gentrified neighborhood.

Among the eight proposals the trustees rejected were bids from Prime Healthcare Foundation, the Brooklyn Hospital Center and the Chinese Community Accountable Care Organization, a New York-based ACO that serves Chinese communities in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

The potential buyer and SUNY have 30 days to negotiate the deal, Lora Lefebvre, SUNY associate vice chancellor for health affairs, said during the hearing. Failure to negotiate a deal would prompt SUNY to enter talks with the second-highest ranked bidder, the Peebles Corp., which partnered with North Shore-LIJ Health System on a $260 million offer on LICH to develop a free-standing emergency room, federally qualified health center and residential property.

Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans



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