As LICH Hangs in Limbo, ER Alternative Sets Sights on Cobble Hill

PM Pediatrics has announced it will open on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn this summer.

While SUNY Downstate's decision whether to keep Long Island College Hospital open remains uncertain, many supporters have posited that the neighborhood and its contiguous areas demand nearby emergency room resources.

As if on cue, a third party has announced it aims to bring those very services to Cobble Hill by Summer 2013.

PM Pediatrics, a provider of after-hours urgent care for patients ages "newborn through college," released an announcement on Wednesday that it will launch its seventh facility at 240 Atlantic Avenue once warm weather arrives.

"We look forward to opening our doors to the families in and around Downtown Brooklyn, one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in New York," said Dr. Jeffrey Schor, founder of PM Pediatrics and a former Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at New York Hospital Queens, in the release. 

"We believe children and young adults everywhere deserve specialized urgent care when they need it, without having to wait long for it."

According to the company's website, every PM Pediatrics office has on-site digital x-ray technology, a comprehensive laboratory which is capable of performing rapid blood, urine and chemistry workups as well as access to specialists such as plastic surgeons or orthopedists. Exisiting PM facilities located in Long Island, Westchester, Queens, and New Jersey keep hours roughly from 5 p.m. to midnight. The chain was listed in Inc. magazine's “Inc. 500|5000” list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies for 2011 and 2012. 

Schor has previously stated that PM Pediatrics do not aim to compete with primary care doctors, telling Bayside-Douglaston Patch a year ago, “We’re not out there to take their patients away. We want to be there for patients so they don’t have to go to the emergency department.”

PM Pediatrics did not offer any comment on the situation at LICH as of press time, but it may end up benefitting should the Cobble Hill hospital be forced to shut its ER altogether.

The New York State Comptroller released an audit earlier this month estimating that the sale of LICH's property, building and equipment could net $200 to $500 million. Since then, SUNY Downstate has been seriously considering cutting the institution from its network, which currently is experiencing losses of roughly $3 million a week.

Meanwhile, rumors swirl that Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning to close the hospital via executive orders, causing community members to send out last-ditch impassioned pleas for support online and elsewhere.

"Call Cuomo: 518 474 8390, call between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. Email: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us The message is: Keep LICH open. Work with the community to develop the right plan to turn it around," read one such e-mail on Wednesday evening.

Stay with Patch for updates.

Duncan McGonagle January 31, 2013 at 04:28 PM
The Polish have a saying, It's called "Pi_sing in the soup." The very last thing we need is another patient magnet siphoning patients from LICH. And all you fine folks who avoid your local medical facility and traipse off to Manhattan; what do you think your survival rate is going to be in the event of a serious medical emergency. EMS is NOT going to transport you to your favorite hospital in Manhattan. You're going to the nearest medical facility. And if you let them close LICH, guess where that's going to be! You'd better make some noise now and keep LICH's doors open before it's too late! Duncan McGonagle, RN
Linda January 31, 2013 at 07:56 PM
PM pediatirics is part of the for-profit health care institutions that Governor Cuomo is trying to institute in Brooklyn. They want to close LICH and let hedge funds and private equity investors into the healthcare system. Wake-up people. For-profit health care exists to make money period. They dont care about providing quality patient care. DEMAND more for your community
James Hayes January 31, 2013 at 08:49 PM
According to the NYS Comptrollers report LICH has lost money for 17 years in a row. In transferring LICH to SUNY despite obvious economic issues at LICH, was the state of New York neglect of its fiduciary responsibility to insure this kind of take over is done in a fiscally responsible manner??? ........................................... A merger does not solve the underlying fiscal or structural problems at LICH. They still exist. This only fostered false hope for people who work at LICH and live in the neighborhood. .......................................... We need a hearing in Albany where the people involved in this travesty testify under oath. We need to know how this happened and why. Then if there has been wrongdoing have criminal charges filled. ...................................... We should all call our elected officials and complain and demand answers. We are all paying for the hundreds of millions of dollars thrown out the window. We will all pay from Buffalo, to Albany, to Brooklyn, to Long island.
Truthful February 01, 2013 at 02:48 AM
You are so on point!!!! The community better wake up. There will not be a strong ambulance presence in the neighborhood. Remember we provide that services in conjunction with the FDNY. They will definitely not be taking you over the bridge. You will be in Brooklyn Hospital, Kings County or Downstate. I don't see the community making noise at all. Last night the Nurses were at the train stations and some of the young people will not even listen or read the information. I feel sorry for them if they get sick or have an emergency. One man thought it was Downstate that was closing. The community is in the clouds.
E.T.M. February 01, 2013 at 07:13 AM
O.K., so you've rolled the dice and elected to take your child to PM Pediatrics, and the "tummy ache" is acute appendicitis. Their protocol will be to call '911' for transport to an ER and then right to the OR. Precious time lost, plus any tranport in an emergency vehicle his its own inherent danger. What is PM's policy going to be for low income or uninsured? This is two-tiered, class based, for-profit medicine... plain and simple.
Deborah Dwoskin February 01, 2013 at 03:40 PM
I would like to point out an inaccuracy: if you read the comptroller's report, LICH itself is only responsible for $1 M out of that $3M weekly loss - the rest is SUNY DMC, which was already losing money before acquiring LICH. The problem is poor management, and that's what should be fixed. Closing LICH will not solve the problem, it will just deprive the community of much needed services.
Joanna Prisco (Editor) February 01, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Deborah, that figure is attributed to the "network" not LICH.
James Hayes February 01, 2013 at 06:17 PM
New York State should have an open hearing examining how SUNY was able to push through the Long Island College Hospital acquisition. If there was wrong doing, there should be criminal charges. New York State failed in it's fiduciary responsibilities to insure the acquisition of Long Island College Hospital was sound fiscally! What happened to the "seemingly infinite number of required steps and agreements necessary for the deal to close." Instead of looking for simplistic answers like mergers, or hiring consultants for millions who know nothing about Brooklyn or its problems. New York State and SUNY should follow the Comptrollers recommendations: Work with the consultant, SUNY System Administration, state policy makers, union officials and the Brooklyn community to identify solutions that balance the Hospital’s need for fiscal stability with the strategic goals of Downstate as well as the health care and economic needs of the community. Have someone actually talk to the people of Brooklyn, the people who work here, live here, and utilize the health care system for possible solutions. We don't bite! Governor Cuomo step up and take part in these discussions and possible solutions to Brooklyn's Health Care problems. Come to Brooklyn and see and meet the people of Brooklyn.
Aaron Scharf February 01, 2013 at 10:33 PM
The Berger Commission made an informed, intelligent and savvy recommendation in its report to Governor Cuomo after the acquisition of LICH by SUNY Downstate: “In light of the recent acquisition of LICH, SUNY Downstate should consider consolidating inpatient services at the LICH campus, thereby eliminating excess capacity and permitting the medical center to focus its inpatient resources and expertise on one location.” The rationale behind this is compelling: 1) The main campus of Downstate is directly across the street from the recently renovated Kings County Hospital; why focus energy and money on an institution literally lying in the shadow of its much larger neighbor? 2) LICH is exquisitely positioned at the border of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights and immediately off an exit from the BQE. It is highly accessible and provides a much-needed anchor to the healthcare requirements of the surrounding community. Its absence creates a dangerous vacuum. 3) Both facilities are operating in the red, and continuing to operate both in their current configurations makes no long-term financial sense. The questions, then, must be: why isn’t SUNY Downstate following the recommendations of the Berger Commission? And if they have a good and valid reason, why aren’t they being more transparent and vocal about it?
Joanne Bernardo February 02, 2013 at 02:38 AM
PM Pediatrics is not the answer. That is an inadequate solution that will not benefit me or my family. LICH has kept me alive & well for years now and given the close proximity to CG, it is a valuable asset in the event of a true emergency. Seconds count. It makes a difference in outcomes. I just recently spent 12 hours in the ER of LICH with a daughter of 27 years old (past pediatric age) in the middle of the night because she had a reaction to a cold tablet that escalated to heart palpitations with accompanying shortness of breath. It was an extremely scary situation but an ambulance arrived in 5 minutes. It is 5 minutes to LICH. Lutheran, Methodist and Maimamodes are 20 minutes away. Well, it took 12 hours for that cold tablet to wear off, but I was glad that care was swift and highly efficient. Without a hospital that close who knows what would have happened. Had to tell that story--I'll have the same for Gov. Cuomo. Protest. Do it now!
E.T.M. February 02, 2013 at 06:42 AM
H. Carl McCall, quoted by the NYDN, in defense of his actions to propose closing LICH as it is a hospital "locals don't use" backed up by a 'source' stating that "residents of Brownstone Brooklyn prefer Manhattan hospitals." These are anecdotal generalizations at best, and flawed class-based bias at worst that is contrary to the recommendations of the NYS DOH commissioned 'blue ribbion' panel charged with "assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Brooklyn hospitals and their future viability". During this critical transition period, SUNY Downstate paid high fees to Continuum Health Partners for continued services such as telecom and billing, while Continuum FAILED to perform billing for the LICH Fast Track ER for over one year, costing LICH over $1 million dollars in insurance reimbursements. Lastly, if you are young and otherwise healthy, and your heart stops in the middle of the night and the '911' system LICH based EMS basic and advanced life support ambulances arrive in under one minute and aggressively resuscitate you, with ER/CCU/ICU care at LICH and you walk out of the hospital a week later and return to Brownstone Brooklyn (not a hypothetical) - H. Carl McCall, I urge you to rethink your strategy for SUNY UHB.
Truthful February 02, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Where are the results of the Pitts Management report? The comany Downstate hired for millions to evaluate all the facilities. They mysteriously dissappeared from their offfices once the possible closing was leaking out. The purchasing department is also gone from LIch as of Monday. The Emergency Rooms are on diversion to prevent patients from filling the beds. This is a done deal and Downstate is only going through the motions to make believe they are considering the concerns of the community. The Dept of Health will not approve the closing of LICH. SO, the Board of Directors of Downstate will vote to close lich and get an executive order from the Governor. This will override the Dept of Health. There are too many Hospitals in the vacinity near Downstate. THere is only one in the Brooklyn Heights/Carroll Gardens community. Continuum and Downstate raped Lich of anything it had left.
Truthful February 02, 2013 at 05:17 PM
That is right. And...there will be less ambulances in the community due to LICH's closure. They hang out in this area because they are committed to the community. FDNY will not be bringing you over the bridge for emergencies. You will be getting surgery at TBHC, KCH adn Downstate. Time is muscle. That is heart muscle. THe extra minutes it takes to get to other facilities means more damage to your heart. It is Heart Month my friends. Lich is also a state of the art Stroke facility. Their were two stroke codes the other day at the same time. It is sorely needed in the community.
Truthful February 02, 2013 at 05:19 PM
There is a three million dollar payment every week. To Continuum/Beth Israel our previous owners. This was a state brokered deal. LICH pays them to do the billing, IT services and electronic records for three million a month.
Truthful February 02, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Billing is 120 days behind. THanks Continuum for the three million dollar a week services! Thanks for brokering that deal Gov Cuomo. There was supposed to be an investigation into what happened to LICH and the Othmer fund. Cuomo backed down when he was Attorney General due to the risk of becoming unpopular and losing his election.
Truthful February 02, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Here is the LINK for the state salaries. It is public information. Unbelievable. http://seethroughny.net/payrolls/executive/
Sharyn Traub February 03, 2013 at 12:38 AM
We appreciate your concern, and we’re sure others share it. However, we’re confident that once the community experiences the high level quality of care and service we deliver, those concerns will disappear. Our practices were started by a number of leaders in Pediatric Emergency Medicine who recognized that the majority of pediatric visits to an ER are not real emergencies but rather are children that need care but have no other options. We are only open evenings and weekends because we recognize that children should utilize their pediatrician for most health care matters but that if they are closed or unavailable, an ER is usually not the appropriate alternative. All of our providers are pediatric specialists, with many double board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Our locations are beautiful, immaculate, and decorated in child-friendly themes, our wait times are minimal, and we make every effort to ensure that the entire experience – from the moment a patient walks in the door through the medical care until checkout and follow-up – is as good as it could possibly be. (cont. from PM Pediatrics)...
Sharyn Traub February 03, 2013 at 12:45 AM
As a result, in each of the communities we serve our reputation for quality is unsurpassed – our growth has been completely driven by word-of-mouth, and we have won several awards for quality. We also have a great relationship with both the pediatricians and hospitals in the community. To that end, we are hopeful that LICH resolves its financial issues and that we can work together to improve the overall health care for the children in Brooklyn.
Sharyn Traub February 03, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Thank you for your feedback. In fact, even though the acuity of the patients seen is high, the quality of our physicians and equipment allows us to treat 99% of the patients we see without needing to transfer them to a hospital. The vast majority of the transfers are for CT scans and MRIs (technology that we do not utilize) or because we know a patient needs to be kept overnight after the treatment we've given them. In most of these cases, the patients get the hospital care they need faster if they come to PM Pediatrics first. That is because our wait times are so much shorter than a hospital ER, and our relationship with hospitals and their ERs typically allows for either expedited evaluation or direct to floor admissions. Similarly, we rarely have to call for an ambulance as most hospitals have their own transport services and will arrange to pick up the child from our practice. Of course in a true life or death emergency patients/parents should call 911. Should this type of emergency come to us (and it is extremely rare), we are fully equipped and capable of stabilizing a patient until an ambulance arrives. (cont. above from PM Pediatrics)
Sharyn Traub February 03, 2013 at 12:49 AM
With regard to low-income or uninsured patients, it is our policy that if a child needs immediate medical attention we will provide it and not worry about payment, and we have given many thousands of dollars worth of charitable care. If a patient doesn’t need immediate care but wants to use our services, we are contracted with several Medicaid plans (and hopeful of adding more), and for those who can demonstrate financial need but do not have coverage, we provide discounted rates. Sincerely, PM Pediatrics
Mary A. February 03, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Continuum is chummy with everyone on the NY State Health Commission and they are gobbling up hospitals in Manhattan. No one in the health fields wants to mess with them because eventually they want to be employed by Continuum or receive contributions from Continuum. They basically raped LICH, sold off all the valuable properties and took the money and they took all the Othmer funds. Cuomo and the current Attorney General have to investigate what happened to all the funds Continuum diverted from LICH and what happened with this rediculous merger. If there isn't an investigation then the New York Times, Daily News, etc. should do their own digging and get a Pulitzer Prize. There is some real dirt hidden here somewhere. Downstate Brooklyn should be closed. Not LICH. We have no hospitals around here. There are hospitals near Downstate Brooklyn. It's a no Brainer.
eve February 03, 2013 at 07:47 PM
all great points. I hope people are sending these letters to McCall & Cuomo & calling the govs office too
eve February 03, 2013 at 11:14 PM
PUBLIC HEARING AT BOROUGH HALL TO SAVE OUR HOSPITALS February 8, 2013 press conference 9:30am, hearing 10:30am MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD everyone needs to be there
NA February 06, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Its a no brainer!..we don't need to hire experts for millions to tell us that if we are losing money cut,cut and "closed".any dummy can tell you that. The economy took a hit so did most industries.Health care is not excempt but folks still need care.It's a no brainer!..we need our hospitals. Mismanagement,theft and fraud ??? Its a no brainer! It's also true that a medical school does'nt need to own a hospital but hospitals still needs to exists for students to get trained.We need a govonor that can bring our healthcare and other industies in NY back to stable financial state.Invest in our hospitals.Remember our AUTO INDUSTRY..its a no brainer!
Susan B. Shanahan February 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM
I am an RN at LICH, on a medical/surgical floor of 42 beds. I've just gotten home from the night shift where 35 of 42 beds are full with 7 scheduled surgeries this a.m. The misinformation and vague generalities regarding LICH being 1/2 full or underutilized are FALSE!!! There is both an aging population in the cobble hill area we serve, as well as a growing population of families moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Where will they go in an emergency? If a stroke or heart attack strikes your Mother or Grandfather. or even YOU...every minute counts! A 20 minute ambulance ride to the next closest ER will be too little too late! SUNY Downstate is using LICH as their scapegoat. They did NOTHING in the eyes of employees to bring in new business. No marketing, no attempts to attract the brownstone brooklyn residents; they slapped some paint on the walls & put up some signage. Employees now suggest that these 2 new signs were LICH's tombstones. BTW not all of Brooklyn is brownstones!!! Some of us live in houses, apartment buildings, & the projects...and we need local, quality, healthcare.
Susan B. Shanahan February 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM
PLEASE JOIN US at The Community Hearing on THURSDAY!!! WE NEED a LARGE TURNOUT to show the board we mean business! Thursday's meeting, which will take place inside the auditorium at The College of Optometry at 33 West 42nd Street, NY, NY will provide one of a handful of last-ditch opportunities for residents, employees and local politicians to plead their case before the SUNY DOWNSTATE board members. The hearing will be held on the 18th floor from 3:00-5:30 pm. Please join us in our quest to save quality healthcare access in Brookyln. SAVE LICH SAVE LICH SAVE LICH
Susan B. Shanahan February 06, 2013 at 03:18 PM
BUSES leave from LICH to Community Hearing at 2pm. We need your support!
eve February 12, 2013 at 04:40 AM
Am going to the town hall meeting on Kane St at 7pm on February 14 to hear more about how we can stop this ill-conceived plan to close our hospital


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