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  • The Park Avenue side of Lenox Hill Hospital on 77th Street in a recent photo. A portion of the super-expensive parcel is being eyed for possible sale and redevelopment. Photo: Douglas Feiden




HOSPITALS AND CONSTRUCTION COSTS

“The Metamorphosis of a Hospital” (January 17-23) is alarming from a medical viewpoint. The article fails to specify what medical facilities will be built, how they will be financed or whether or not they are needed. Construction of new health care facilities requires a certificate of need (CON) from the New York State Health Department. The rationale for this requirement is: excess and thus underutilized facilities give rise to increases in the cost of medical care. These increases are needed to cover maintenance costs for underutilized facilities. Initial construction costs may also be problematic. It appears that in this case Lenox Hill’s construction costs will be covered by the proceeds the from the sale of real estate already in its portfolio and/or profits from non medical commercial investments envisioned for the project. Given that institutions often satisfy construction-related debt by increasing the cost of medical care to its patients, it is important that the funding sources be made public.

The requirement that no monies derived from patient-care delivery can be used for capital improvement projects is a staple in all robust progressive health care legislation. To this end, our state legislature is considering a single payer health care bill (New York Health) that — among other things — prohibits institutions from diverting income from health care delivery services to capital improvement projects.

The notion that institutions devoted to health care delivery should function primarily as machines to generate profit is upsetting.

Marc H Lavietes MD Soho

BACK AND FORTH ON THE L TRAIN

The devil is in the details concerning Governor Cuomo’s proposed new design for the Canarsie L Line Subway Tunnel project. (“Averting the L-pocalypse,” January 10-16). Several hundred million dollars in funding was provided under a Federal Transit Administration Super Storm Sandy Recovery and Resiliency grant in 2016. What is the new design impact on budget, engineering, milestones, scope of work changes, useful life of the investment, overnight and weekend track outages along with more NYC Transit Force Account (employees) to protect private contractor workers, which nobody has seen?

When will the MTA HQ, board members, NYC Transit, NYCDOT managers and engineers along with the Federal Transit Administration formally review and comment on this new design and budget impacts? Ditto for both the MTA & FTA independent oversight engineering consulting firms. The winning contractors’ Judlau and TC Electric $477 million bid was based on the original scope of work and design proposed by the MTA. This included included 24/7 site access to both tunnels with no active subway.

This contract will now have to be renegotiated. They now have the basis to request additional reimbursement in the millions. These added costs will be far more than any credits given the contractor for deletion of work as a result of the new design. Contractors’ claims for additional financial reimbursement can be based upon delay claims due to limited site access and change orders for significant design and work scope changes to the original contract. Who will cover costs for materials previously ordered by the contractor in preparation for initiation of work in April that may now not be needed? How will the MTA find additional funding to supplement previously approved federal Super Storm Sandy Relief and Resiliency grant dollars? How many more months and even years will it take beyond 15 months to now complete all work? Don’t be surprised if it takes between two to three years.

Larry Penner Great Neck, NY





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