For Immediate Release: Friday, March 8, 2013
Eliza Bates, NYSNA - email@example.com, 917.565.2976
Fred Winters, Concerned Physicians for LICH - firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.608.0333/347.834.3719
Dave Bates, 1199SEIU - email@example.com, 347.865.8038
BROOKLYN, NY — In a victory for patients across Brooklyn, today New York Supreme Court Judge Johnny Lee Baynes extended the Temporary Restraining Order barring SUNY from moving forward with a plan to close Long Island College Hospital (LICH), saying that he needed more time to review the evidence before making a decision.
LICH is open for care. The extension of the Order has added momentum to a community-based movement by nurses, doctors, caregivers, patients, community and elected leaders.
This morning before the hearing, caregivers and patients rallied in the snow and held a press conference with lawmakers, including City Council Members Steven Levin, Letitia James, and Brad Lander, and State Senator Daniel Squadron and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. The press conference was emceed by a representative of New York Communities for Change, and supporters from the National Action Network also participated.
“This is a victory for the communities served by LICH,” said Jill Furillo, RN, Executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association. “And a victory for all of the patients who require care in hospitals throughout the Borough. Hundreds of thousands of patients will be negatively impacted by any decision to close LICH. We can't let that happen because we are patient advocates. That's why we will continue to everything we can to keep LICH open for care.”
LICH is vital to the community and closing the hospital would put patients from across Brooklyn at risk. For 150 years patients have depended on LICH for emergency and primary care services. Without LICH, Brooklyn’s severely over-crowded emergency rooms would be stretched beyond capacity, wait times would increase, and patient outcomes would get worse.
"This is a victory for patients and working people in Brooklyn, and we’re continuing to call on the Department of Health to thoroughly explore alternative solutions that will keep LICH open and viable," said 1199SEIU president George Gresham. "We need more time to explore these options and make sure we maintain LICH's vital healthcare services and good jobs."
Dr. Toomas Sorra, of Concerned Physicians for LICH said: “We’re pleased by Judge Baynes’ decision to continue the temporary restraining order today. It allows us more time to take steps to preserve our communities’ hospital. LICH is full or overcrowded virtually all the time, and the care – as documented in the US News & World Report national hospital survey – is of the highest quality. Patients, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, community organizations and elected representatives are unified behind our efforts to encourage government to keep LICH a viable health care provider well into the future, as it has been since the Civil War.”
LICH is one of several community hospitals at risk. The Department of Health still has the power to step in and keep LICH open for care. LICH advocates are calling on state lawmakers to start listening to New York patients, caregivers, and community members. The State should tap into LICH’s full potential as a primary care facility and invest in strengthening it.
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.