SUNY Trustees to Meet to Decide LICH's Future

By Nikhita Venugopal on February 7, 2013 1:03pm 

COBBLE HILL — The SUNY Board of Trustees will meet Thursday to discuss the fate of Long Island College Hospital, which is on the chopping block along with the thousands of people it employs.

At the 3 p.m. meeting, Dr. John Williams, president of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, said that he plans to formally recommend closing LICH, the New York Times reported.

The meeting will take place at the SUNY College of Optometry at 33 W. 42nd St. in Manhattan and is open to the public, according to the university spokesman.

Williams will argue that LICH is a “drain on the entire downstate system” and the closure will be necessary to preserve the system, said Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for the Downstate Medical Center.

An executive committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees will meet Friday to vote on Williams’s recommendation. If approved, it will be submitted to the Department of Health for further authorization.   

Cobble Hill community members and residents are furious at what they say is the lack of communication from state university officials about the planned move.

“That’s probably the most disturbing aspect,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6, which represents Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Street District, Gowanus, Park Slope, and Red Hook.

The hospital’s closure will have a wide impact on the community, said Hammerman, particularly the approximately 2,000 jobs that will reportedly be lost. It could be “economically disastrous,” he said.

Cobble Hill locals have also pointed to the significant land value of the LICH location. “It smells like land and money grab,” said Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association, a neighborhood community group.

The meeting on Thursday will be followed by a public hearing at the same location where concerned individuals and LICH advocates will have one last chance to speak out in regard to the hospital’s fate. 

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