De Blasio's four-point plan to save two Brooklyn hospitals
by Andrew Pavia
Jul 30, 2013 | 2926 views | 0 0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As several cash-strapped Brooklyn hospitals, including Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, face closure, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan titled “Saving Brooklyn’s Heath Care,” a four-pronged approach to not only help keep these hospitals from closing, but fix the issues facing the Brooklyn health care system overall.

Under the plan, de Blasio proposes creating a Brooklyn Health Authority consisting of members appointed by the mayor and governor. The group would coordinate spending of health care dollars, drive down costs by helping Brooklyn’s small hospitals negotiate as a collective, and push for higher care standards.

“Community hospitals in Brooklyn are standing on the brink,” said de Blasio. “If we don’t act, real estate developers will turn these critical health care facilities into luxury condos for the wealthy, while some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city will lose their emergency room, clinics and doctors.”

In addition to the health authority, de Blasio is calling for the city to create a safety net for patients when a hospital files for bankruptcy. In such a case, until access to primary care and urgent care facilities are in place, the new Brooklyn Health Authority would be committed to ensuring at least status quo availability for patients.

De Blasio also wants to coordinate health care facility construction under a new Health Care Transformation and Construction Fund. This would help develop new clinics and ambulatory care based on the needs of a particular community.

The final point of the plan implements higher standards of care for treatment regarding chronic diseases and preventing hospital-acquired infections. Two-thirds of Brooklyn’s hospitals were identified by the state Department of Health as having rates of hospital-acquired infections “significantly” higher than the state average.

The public advocate became very involved in preventing the closure of LICH earlier last month when he was arrested for civil disobedience, refusing to leave SUNY property during a protest.

Last week, when SUNY got the approval of DOH to begin a shutdown, de Blasio acquired a temporary restraining order from a judge preventing the move.

“Bill de Blasio has taken the strongest stand against hospital closures in Brooklyn, and backed it up with a clear, well thought-out plan to ensure we have a sustainable healthcare system over the long term,” said George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU Untied Healthcare Workers.
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