SUNY Withdraws Plan to Close LICH

By Nikhita Venugopal on April 26, 2013 2:44pm | Updated on April 26, 2013 5:51pm

COBBLE HILL — Long Island College Hospital has been saved, the state officials announced Friday.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who owns LICH, withdrew their controversial proposal to close the hospital from the State Department of Health after months of criticism from LICH employees, community members and local officials.

"We are withdrawing the closure plan so we can work with the State and other stakeholders on a sustainability plan for Brooklyn’s only medical school and to ensure quality medical care throughout the borough," said Downstate President Dr. John Williams, in the press release.

But SUNY Downstate's commitment to operate the hospital was not absolute; it said it "would continue to seek a provider of healthcare services within the LICH community, including potentially a hospital operator."

SUNY Downstate can restructure itself, with the approval of DOH and the State Division of the Budget with new and comprehensive tools through the recently enacted state budget.

SUNY's "Sustainability Plan," to be developed by June 1, will outline a way through which Downstate can "achieve financial viability while continuing to provide its core services in education, clinical care and research," according to the release.

The announcement comes just a day after the City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution to save the hospital.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, called on the SUNY and the State Department of Health to work with stakeholders to find another owner for the Cobble Hill hospital.

LICH advocates welcomed the news of SUNY's withdrawal, Friday.

"This is an incredible victory for Downtown Brooklyn and its residents and the entire health care system of New York City,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in a press release.

"Now there's a real opportunity for a collaborative process that engages the community and local leaders on LICH's future," said State Senator Daniel Squadron, in a press release.

"We've been making our voices heard loud and clear: LICH is vital to Brooklyn. And it's clear we're being heard," he said.

"This victory proves the grassroots strength we have when we unite for quality healthcare, and we will continue to work hard to ensure LICH remains open and thriving for generations to come," said George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, in a release.

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