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LICH gets a new lease on life

Long Island College Hospital is staying open – for now.

Today, New York Supreme Court judge Johnny Lee Baynes issued a ruling vacating SUNY’s vote to close the hospital, stating that the SUNY board violated the open meeting law.

Baynes prohibited the board from taking any further action to close the hospital until it follows the open meetings law and other statutory provisions. Even if SUNY comes into compliance with the open meeting law, LICH cannot close without approval by the state’s Department of Health.

The decision comes after Judge Judy Barros issued a temporary restraining order on February 8 barring SUNY from closing the hospital or talking to the Department of Health about their closure plan.

“This ruling validates what nurses have been saying all along: SUNY acted unlawfully and irresponsibly when they voted to close our community hospital,” said Jill Furillo, RN, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association. “We’re going to keep working together to build a powerful coalition to protect Brooklyn patients and keep LICH open for care.”

“LICH is open for care, and patients, neighbors and staff vow to do whatever it takes to keep this vital hospital open, including continued community actions, lobbying lawmakers and exploring further legal strategies,” added George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “We cannot allow the destruction of healthcare access and good jobs in Brooklyn.”

Dr. Toomas Sorra, a representative of Concerned Physicians for LICH added, “Patients, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, community organizations and elected representatives are unified in our efforts to keep LICH open as a full-service hospital well in to the future, as it has been for more than 150 years.  Closing LICH would deprive Brooklyn of a critical health care resource and leave multiple Brooklyn neighborhoods without appropriate access to an emergency room and other necessary health care services.  We are particularly concerned about the effects of closure on the low-income communities we serve.”

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