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Long Island College Hospital Lays Off 150 employees

By Heather Holland | July 23, 2012 3:45pm | Updated on July 23, 2012 3:54pm

COBBLE HILL — Long Island College Hospital laid off 150 employees last week due to the financial woes that have been plaguing the hospital and its partner, SUNY Downstate, for several years, a hospital spokeswoman said.

LICH, located at 339 Hicks St., has had financial trouble for years and made the layoffs in hope of reaching financial stability, said Zipporah Dvash, a spokeswoman for LICH.

“The organization’s leadership — in partnership with SUNY administration — is reviewing all operations and making the changes necessary to achieve financial stability while continuing to serve its mission of education and provide high quality, save patient care services to the people of Brooklyn,” Dvash said.

Last month, representatives from LICH notified local elected officials that layoffs were on the horizon, although at the time, the number of layoffs planned was closer to 200, Assemblywoman Joan Millman said.

Aside from the 150 who were laid off on Friday, some union workers have yet to receive their notices because their contracts require a longer notice for termination, Millman said.

“It’s devastating for those people who held those jobs,” Millman said. “Everyone is concerned.

“SUNY is looking into things that they might be able to do to find these people employment.”

This isn’t the first time the medical center has resorted to drastic measures due to its financial problems. About three years ago, LICH was in danger of closing altogether, said Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association, a neighborhood group dedicated to improving the community.

The hospital was spending much more than they were earning in revenue, and considered closing before the community fought to keep it open, Sloane explained.

“This community fought long and hard to keep our hospital and the important services they provide to our community in tact,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6. “Downstate had pledged to do so when they took over the facility and we are pleased that they have honored that commitment.”

The hospital is also planning on downsizing the facility from offering more than 300 beds to only 220 beds, an anonymous insider told the Brooklyn Paper, which first reported of the lay-offs.

“Although the extent of the reduction is not yet known, we are making every effort to minimize the impact on Downstate staff,” said Dr. Ian Taylor, officer-in-charge of Downstate Medical Center. “While the precarious financial situation has forced these difficult decisions, I remain confident we will continue to provide outstanding care to our patients, education to our students and commitment to our research and surrounding communities throughout this process.”