Judge to SUNY/Downstate:
Halt Long Island College Hospital Closure

State University of New York Trustees were ordered in no uncertain terms to put a temporary stop to the closing of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in North Brooklyn. The order came down from a Brooklyn judge earlier today, who was responding to a suit filed by the New York State Nurses Association, Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, and a group of doctors from the hospital, protesting SUNY’s planned closure of LICH. SUNY/Downstate personnel are also barred from “any communication” with the State Health Department concerning their proposed plans, which were initially made in a closed-door meeting.

PatientPOV.org outlined the specter of hospital closures in Brooklyn threatening patient and emergency care for patients in North and Central Brooklyn in a post Feb. 8th. SUNY Trustees had met privately and stunned the community when it announced it would reorganize hospital care, closing Long Island College Hospital, and beefing up services at Downstate, which is directly across the street from Kings County Hospital Center. The SUNY Trustees’ plan flies in the face of the State’s commissioned report on Medicaid Redesign in Brooklyn.

Even though a March 7th public hearing is scheduled on the suit, SUNY/Downstate has been starving LICH, not assigning attending physicians, interns and residents to the facility, according to LICH staff. Although the plaintiffs view this temporary restraining order as a huge win for patients and staff, the long-term future of hospitals in Brooklyn remains up in the air. A key question is whether the State Health Department and Governor Cuomo will rise to the occasion, back their own Medicaid Redesign Report, and orchestrate a solution to keep the hospital open.