New details about the settlement between SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Long Island College Hospital reveal that the "win-win agreement" is only a partial victory by elected officials who have struggled to keep the troubled Cobble Hill hospital afloat.
Under the new agreement, some health-care services will definitely remain available at LICH, but there is no guarantee it will remain a full-service hospital.
Community groups have agreed to drop pending lawsuits against SUNY and help select a winning bidder in an expedited, three-week bidding process that will put bidders proposing a full hospital at the top of the list — but allows for another winner if no such bids surface.
In the two previous rounds of bidding, most potential buyers have proposed some combination of health-care and housing. None have put forth a vision that includes a full-service hospital.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio made vague reference to potential pitfalls with the deal but said it marked a "transcendent moment for health care in New York City."
"We understand – all New Yorkers understand – that healthcare is changing," he said. "It’s changing because of new federal laws, it’s changing because of new economic realities, it’s changing because of demographic change. We get it. And we’re willing to embrace change. But only if it’s on terms that leave no New Yorker behind."
Asked if a partial-service hospital would a dealbreaker, de Blasio replied," It would not be responsible to prejudge the outcome."