For Immediate Release: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013
|Dave Bates, 1199SEIU
|Eliza Bates, NYSNA
New York City — On Thursday, Feb. 7, patient advocates, community leaders, nurses and caregivers held a spirited rally and press conference before a SUNY Board meeting about the proposed closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH). They then spoke out at the public comment period and urged SUNY Chairman Carl McCall and the Board of Trustees to postpone any vote on the matter, saying that it would be premature and irresponsible. The proposed closure is especially troubling because the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team recommended that LICH stay open. LICH is in a growing neighborhood, is highly utilized by local residents, and offers many unique medical services for the area, and the coalition believes that with the right planning, leadership and vision, the hospital could remain open and viable.
“I have been a dedicated caregiver at LICH for over 50 years,” Said Mercedes Folkes of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. “Every day, my co-workers and I pour our hearts and souls into providing compassionate, high quality care to our community. For the good of our patients, our borough and our city, this disastrous closure must be avoided.”
“People come from all across Brooklyn to get care at LICH,” said Herdley Hill, RN, a psychiatric nurse at LICH. “Many of our patients are low-income. Many are people of color. Many are from underserved communities. They deserve the best care -- we save lives every day.”
LICH serves over 100,000 patients a year, including working families, seniors and other vulnerable patient populations throughout the borough. With over 2,000 employees, LICH is also one of the borough’s largest employers, and its closure would destroy good jobs and be a severe blow to the local economy.
“All other options should be thoroughly explored and exhausted before even considering the possibility of closure,” said George Gresham, President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “We will do everything in our power to make sure this disastrous closure is avoided and we keep LICH’s care and jobs in our community.”
“Wall Street and the big hospital chains want to bring in for-profit healthcare to New York State -- starting with a ‘pilot project’ in Brooklyn,” said Jill Furillo, RN, the executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association. “They want to experiment on Brooklyn patients with a for-profit healthcare system that is already failing patients across the country. We’re going to stop them -- and save LICH!”
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 350,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and quality jobs for all.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for hundreds of thousands of frontline nurses. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses.