Appellate Court Judge Upholds Order to Keep LICH Running
COBBLE HILL — An Appellate Court judge ruled that Long Island College Hospital must maintain their service levels – even after the State Department of Health approved the first steps of a closure plan last week, officials said, Monday.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is running for mayor, received an order from Judge Robert Miller, an associate justice at the Appellate Court, who upheld a temporary restraining order that was issued by a Supreme Court judge last Friday.
“This is a victory for our cause,” said de Blasio, at a press conference at 45 Monroe Pl., Monday evening.
The order requires LICH to return hospital services to their previous state as of July 19 at 4:00 p.m., the judge ruled, said de Blasio.
Judge Johnny Lee Baynes reportedly issued the restraining order, late Friday evening, just one day after hospital administrators ordered LICH staff to discharge their patients and hours after the state DOH gave SUNY Downstate the green light to close the hospital, which would require LICH to transfer or discharge all remaining inpatients by July 28.
“We believe SUNY has acted in bad faith in this process,” said de Blasio.
SUNY Downstate moved to block the order and their motion was granted but slightly modified, spokesman Robert Bellafiore.
“We do not have to bring ambulances back, restore residents or take any of the steps that were contained in the earlier lower court orders,” said Bellafiore in an email. “Nor must we defer to the views of the LICH staff.”
Downstate only has to continue hospital services as they were late last Friday afternoon, he said. “… that means virtually no change from the way they are today.”
But de Blasio is hopeful of the new ruling, insisting that it proves their rushed measure to halt SUNY’s plan was “correct” and “appropriate,” he said.
The mayoral candidate and his legal team will meet again with Judge Baynes, Tuesday.
“We want to continue to clarify what will be the next step for Long Island College Hospital continuing to provide service for the community,” he said.
The team will also file a revised petition that claims the state DOH acted “illegally” in regards to the LICH closure plan, said Jim Walden, a litigation partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who is representing de Blasio.
The filing would also prevent the state DOH from considering further steps in the closure plan till the end of a statutory 90-day period, said Walden.
The state Department of Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In that time, de Blasio hopes the hospital will be handed over to one of seven alternative operators for healthcare services at LICH, he said.
A hearing for the hospital’s fate is scheduled for July 25.