The tumultuous marriage between Long Island College Hospital and its parent company ain’t over yet.
There had been rumors among medical staff that the LICH board, which mirrors the board of Continuum Health Partners, would vote at a Dec. 17 meeting to give Continuum the right to sever its ties with the indebted Cobble Hill facility.
But there was no vote taken this week.
Continuum’s president, Stanley Brezenoff, did openly discuss “active negotiations” with SUNY Downstate to unload the 150-year-old hospital — which is good news for doctors who want freedom from Continuum, but bad news among those afraid of being taken over by another parent company, according to medical staff President Dr. Arnold Licht.
“What we don’t like is that there are negotiations going on that we’re not part of,” said Licht, who has long called for Continuum to cut its ties to LICH. “We don’t like the idea of them just handing us over to someone else. What we want is a relationship predicated on two partners negotiating and making sure there are benefits for both sides.”
At the meeting, Brezenoff also stated that transferring the medical center — which Continuum claims is $170 million in debt — to SUNY Downstate wouldn’t be an easy process, and that there might be “wrinkles” along the way, Licht said.
Hospital spokeswoman Zippi Dvash confirmed the discussions with SUNY.
“Downstate is certainly one of the entities that Continuum is speaking to [in order] to ensure LICH’s future,” she said.
Rifts in the 10-year-old marriage between LICH and Continuum emerged when Continuum announced the hospital’s financial woes, sold LICH property, fired staff and attempted to cut the medical center’s pediatrics, maternity, and dentistry departments — plans that the state nixed last month.
Doctors and medical staff have accused their parent company of mismanagement and attempting to bankrupt the hospital in order to sell off its valuable Cobble Hill property — allegations that Continuum has denied.