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LICH Advocates Dig In as Quinn Expresses Doubt About Hospital's Survival

RED HOOK — Despite intense efforts by supporters to save Long Island College Hospital from closure, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said Wednesday she's skeptical of the hospital's survival.

"We may not win the LICH battle," Quinn said at a Red Hook Civic Association meeting. "It's looking less and less likely."

Quinn, however, maintained that the demise of community hospitals was not an isolated problem, but rather a citywide issue that needed to be addressed. She said the city needed a comprehensive plan on how to sustain primary and outpatient care in areas where those services are most needed.

“LICH is in a part of Brooklyn that's growing evermore dense,” she said, adding that the city needed an aggressive plan for local health care.

Quinn is no stranger to the closure of community hospitals. St. Vincent's Hospital shuttered in April 2010, despite her own efforts to save the Greenwich Village institution.

"It was just a horrible, horrible, crushing defeat," said Quinn, of St. Vincent’s. “It’s a terrible loss to the community”

Still, LICH advocates are persisting in efforts to save the Cobble Hill hospital.

"LICH is an institution in this community and it has to stay,” said LeShane Lindsey, a spokesman for the New York State Nurses Association.

To show their determination, LICH advocates are organizing a march on April 7 at 1 p.m., from Coffey Park in Red Hook to LICH, Lindsey said. “There’s consequences if you shut down our hospital.”

The nurses association, along with 1199 SEIU and others, are also planning a community health fair and rally, April 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pal Miccio Center.

SUNY ordered the closure of LICH last week in a court-ordered public meeting, citing financial difficulties. A Brooklyn judge had earlier ruled that SUNY's Board of Trustees had to hold a public meeting on the closure to comply with state open meetings law.

Supporters, including nurses, patients and physicians, are continuing to rally to find an alternative owner for LICH and save their beloved hospital.

“We need it for our children. We need it for us. We need to fight for it,” said an audience member.