Protests after SUNY decides to close Long Island College Hospital

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surrounded by healthcare workers and others protesting this weekend's closure of Long Island College Hospital. Credit: Bill de Blasio/Twitter
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surrounded by healthcare workers and others protesting this weekend’s closure of Long Island College Hospital.
Credit: Bill de Blasio/Twitter

Despite multiple politicians staging rallies, press conferences and even getting arrested to protest its imminent closure, SUNY Downstate decided to shutter Long Island College Hospital this weekend.

Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and 18 remaining patients at the Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, hospital were given notice of the closure Thursday, according to a spokesman for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s office.

De Blasio, along with Councilman Stephen Levin and state Sen. Daniel Squadron, protested the closure with healthcare workers later in the afternoon, asking SUNY to cease attempts to shut LICH down.

The hospital has faced economic challenges in the last few years, reportedly losing $15 million every week. SUNY said it would not seek to close the hospital in April, but has been diverting ambulances and refusing new patients in some wards for weeks. In June, a judge ordered SUNY to maintain enough staff to function.

“SUNY is not above the law,” Levin said in a statement. “If they attempt to shutter Long Island College Hospital this weekend, as reports show, they will be doing so illegally. The community will not allow this.”

A spokesman for SUNY Downstate shrugged the protest off to the New York Daily News.

“We have 18 admitted patients and 1,800 people on the payroll,” said spokesman Robert Bellafiore. “And for the people who say we should keep it open, it would be great if they can help us balance the books.”

Another protest has been organized for noon Friday, when doctors were reportedly told to begin transferring remaining patients.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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