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De Blasio Calls For New 'Super Authority' To Protect Brooklyn Hospitals

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Monday called for a "super authority" to save failing hospitals and protect health care in Brooklyn.

De Blasio, who is also running for mayor, said the Brooklyn Health Authority would be focused on saving four hospitals – Long Island College Hospital, Interfaith Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital, and Wyckoff Medical Center.

The authority would allocate federal funding to the hospitals, and allow portions of the health facilities' real estate to be sold in order to generate proceeds to pump back into the hospitals.

"There's Medicaid dollars that we actually should be able to access to restructure hospitals, but that's only one part of the solution," he said.

The plan for the super authority would allow portions of the hospitals' real estate to be sold as long as the money is kept in health care, de Blasio explained. The authority would make sure no real estate deals occur under the plan unless the proceeds directly benefit the health care facility.

"The only way we're going to get there is by not allowing this to be different neighborhoods trying to fight to save their own individual hospital, but actually coming up with a plan for the future of health care in Brooklyn, and the organizational strength and the funding to make it work," he told 1010 WINS.

De Blasio said he hoped the plan would create a new avenue for negotiations between city and state officials and the advocates and community vying to keep hospitals open.

"I'm sure their first impulse is going to be to look the other way and not get involved with this new proposal," he said. "But we think it's going to create real serious debate on the options we do have, so I'm hoping it will add to the pressure on the city and the state to actually come up with a coherent plan."

De Blasio's plan came as SUNY Downstate has been seeking to close Long Island College Hospital and look for another company to take over, saying it is losing $15 million keeping the medical facility open.

Earlier this month, the university received approval from the State Department of Health to shut down the hospital.

But a judge later issued a temporary restraining order that de Blasio said would have called for financial penalties if SUNY Downstate closed LICH.

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