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Letter: SUNY mismanaged takeover of hospital

Stony Brook University Hospital on March 26, 2014.

Stony Brook University Hospital on March 26, 2014. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

I read "No hospital deal yet" [News, Aug. 8], about the delay in Southampton Hospital joining Stony Brook University Hospital's health care system. I noted the mention of "the LICH effect," meaning that SUNY's experience taking over Long Island College Hospital brought with it too much debt.

As a registered nurse at LICH for more than 30 years, I can tell you that Southampton should be concerned about "the SUNY effect."

LICH came to SUNY with millions of dollars in state grants to make improvements. Those improvements never fully happened. Where that money went is now being reviewed by the state attorney general's office.

The fact is that LICH was not "losing $13 million a month" before it was closed. As I testified before the State Senate committees on higher education and health in June 2013, that "loss" happened only after SUNY cut off sources of LICH revenue.

The fight to save LICH by doctors, nurses, health workers, community residents, organizations and local elected officials, including the winning mayoral candidate, lasted so long and was so strong because LICH was viable and important to the many communities that it served.

LICH was not the failure in this merger. LICH didn't "lose" millions. It was thrown away by SUNY.

Julie Semente, Brooklyn