The State University of New York has reached a deal with unions and Northern Brooklyn community groups regarding the future of its Long Island College Hospital.
In February of 2013, SUNY’s board of trustees voted to close the hospital and were seeking sell the property to (likely one of four) developers who are competing in a bid process. Various groups from the community blocked the closure with a web of legal actions brought by a coalition of local community groups, unions and elected officials, who were calling for a totally new, transparent Request for Proposals (bidding) process that “respond to the health care needs of the community.” Meanwhile, SUNY claimed that the losses—estimated at as much as $13MM per month—that resulted from the hospital’s continued operation threaten the structure of the state’s entire public college system.
Last week, the parties reached a settlement—which is viewed by some as a fair compromise and viewed by others as the exact offer on the table a year ago—that entails SUNY placing heavier weight on developers’ bids that include keeping the hospital in full time service, but allowing SUNY to cease operational control over the hospital in May. In a nod to compromise, a plaintiff’s attorney, Jim Walden, commended SUNY for working towards a fair settlement. Along with representation for some plaintiffs, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Chairman of the SUNY trustees, H. Carl McCall, also exalted the deal as giving the community a better chance at achieving its goals while allowing the university system to relieve economic strain.