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ALBANY — State and city officials said Thursday that they have agreed on how to transition Long Island College Hospital to more of a community-based service for Brooklyn, which will promote outpatient care over far more expensive emergency room treatment.
The agreement is made possible by $8 billion in Medicaid funding to the state announced this month. The funding will be used to transform health care in Brooklyn and other parts of the state.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the State University of New York said Thursday’s agreement ends pending litigation and allows SUNY to its end costly operations in the hospital by May.
The deal will expedite the selection of a new operator for health care services from the hospital, although the agreement must be approved by a court.
The hospital had become unaffordable and was losing $13 million a month with debts of more than $500 million. But Brooklyn residents feared they’d lose access to nearby, affordable health care if it closed. State legislators from New York City pushed in Albany to block the closing as Cuomo sought an alternative.
The federal Medicaid waiver providing $10 billion to the state to transition hospitals to less costly community clinics and other health care provided the means to transform the hospital rather than close it.
“The reality is that yesterday’s costly, inefficient models of delivering service are no longer viable options for tomorrow,” Cuomo said. “Under the terms of today’s agreement, SUNY is reopening the solicitation process to find a new operator for LICH that will guide the facility as it modernizes and continues its important mission of serving New Yorkers.”
"For months we were told the free-fall closure of Long Island College was inevitable,” de Blasio said. “We fought back.”
In July, candidate de Blasio was arrested with several elected officials in a protest of the expected closing of the hospital. “Protecting continuity of care and ensuring the health care needs of this community are met will now be the yardstick by which proposals for the future of LICH are measured,” de Blasio said Thursday.
The emotional case came down to the wire. In January, Cuomo with de Blasio by his side in an Albany news conference said funding to keep the Brooklyn hospital open might end in February.