No lay-offs at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center: Officials

Assemblywoman Diana Richardson.
Assemblywoman Diana Richardson

Officials at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn and Brooklyn Assemblywoman Diana Richardson have assured that no lay-offs will take place at a hospital in the epicenter of the Caribbean community as a result of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announced plan last month for a 266-unit affordable housing development at the hospital as part of a $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative.

“The development of housing on the campus will not impact jobs,” Enid Dillard, director of marketing & public affairs at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, told Caribbean Life on Monday. “Underused, no longer needed buildings or parcels on the campus will be developed for much needed housing in the community.”

Richardson, who represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn, had taken strong issue with a Caribbean Life article last week that stated in the lead paragraph that “hundreds of workers, including doctors and nurses, may be thrown into the breadline when a major hospital campus in the epicenter of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn is turned into affordable housing development.”

Clearly, the article did not state specifically that employees at Kingbrook Jewish Medical Center will be laid off; nor did it state that the hospital will be closed.

Instead, the operative word, “may,” was used in stating that employees “may be thrown into the breadline…”

The gist of the story was based primarily on Cuomo’s announcement.

“Cuomo said the project is to transform Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center North Campus into apartment buildings, with health, wellness, employment and support services,” the article said.

“The development is part of the governor’s $578 million commitment to create 4,000 units of affordable housing in Central Brooklyn,” it added.

“Cuomo said the Kingsbrook Estates will offer affordable housing and a wide array of health, wellness, employment and support services for residents and the broader community,” the article continued.

On Friday, Richardson, the daughter of Aruban and St. Martin immigrants, in an email to Caribbean Life, also said that no employee will be laid off.

“In fact, we are building this development on the North End of the hospital, and no one (including doctors or nurses) will be affected (ie Loosing Jobs),” she said, misspelling losing and uppercasing jobs.

In “requesting an opportunity for us to better clarify our campus redevelopment,” Dillard forwarded to Caribbean Life an article “recently published in Crain’s,” which “allowed us the opportunity to make clear the overall goals of our transformation.”

The Crain’s article, published on Dec. 11, under the headline, “Cuomo unveils project to convert Kingsbrook Jewish buildings into housing”, stated that “three buildings on a 102,000-square-foot part of the hospital’s campus will be demolished to make way for the housing development, which will be called Kingsbrook Estates. The hospital’s Leviton Building also will be converted into housing units.

“’It’s really addressing a dire need for affordable and supportive housing in central Brooklyn,’ said LaRay Brown, CEO of the One Brooklyn Health System, which includes Kingsbrook Jewish. ‘We’re increasingly seeing that health care is not effective in isolation from addressing the social determinants of health.’

“The buildings are home to some of the 303-bed hospital’s administrative offices and include some patient care areas.

“Brown said that the aging structures, which are expensive to maintain, would not be needed as the system redevelops the campus as a site for ambulatory care, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychiatric services and post-acute care.

“A lot of the uses are administrative, and they can be relocated and consolidated into other spaces that will remain on the campus,” Brown said. “None of the buildings have significant inpatient or outpatient services.”

“A state-commissioned study conducted by Northwell Health in 2016 recommended Kingsbrook Jewish no longer operate as a full-service, acute-care hospital. This project isn’t ushering in the implementation of that plan, Brown said. But One Brooklyn is continuing to pursue plans to transform the campus into a medical village with a freestanding emergency department and a much smaller number of inpatient beds, Brown said.

“The project is part of the Cuomo administration’s commitment to spend $578 million to create 4,000 units of affordable housing in central Brooklyn.

“The money was included in the governor’s $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative, which allocated about $660 million to transforming health care in central Brooklyn.

“The Kingsbrook Estates plan will include a 7,000-square-foot Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, center, which will connect older adults with chronic health conditions to medical care and social services,” the Crain’s article stated.

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