Grant delays put New York hospital in jeopardy

From salvaged to the scrap heap, it looks like the end could be near for Long Island College Hospital. The cash-strapped facility, which was set to merge with SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, now faces the prospect of shutting its doors after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that more than $62 million in Medicaid grants set aside last fall to aid the transaction will be delayed, the New York Times reports.

The hospital is teetering on the edge as hospitals elsewhere in the country also struggle to survive despite significant Medicaid cuts.

Cuomo plans to freeze all Medicaid grants that have yet to be paid--currently more than 100 grants worth more than $683 million fall into that category--in order to take a closer look at what is thought by many to be a bloated, out-of-control program. While a majority of grants set to be distributed likely will be unaffected, Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto told the newspaper, Stanley Brezenoff, president of Continuum Health Partners, LICH's parent, thinks otherwise.

There was "a clear implication [that the grants] were seriously in question," he said, according to the Times. Brezenoff added that the hospital is likely to run out of money by the middle of next month, and that he has started proceedings to shut down LICH, including drafting a closing plan and prepping termination notices.

SUNY-Downstate, meanwhile, told the newspaper that it was too early to comment on the situation.

To learn more:
- read this New York Times article
- here's a memo from last fall announcing the merger and accompanying grants (.pdf)