For Immediate Release
NEW YORK, April 26, 2013 — Today, SUNY withdrew its plan to close Long Island College Hospital. LICH is open for care and will stay open.
In a letter sent to the New York City Council earlier this week, SUNY committed to expand its search for a new operator for the hospital.
“This is an incredible victory for Brooklyn patients. We want to thank Governor Cuomo for helping us find solutions to Brooklyn’s healthcare crisis,” said Jill Furillo, RN, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association. “We are so grateful to everyone who has worked to keep LICH open: The caregivers of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Governor Cuomo, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assembly Members Joan Millman and Dick Gottfried, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, District Leader Jo Anne Simon, and New York City Council members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Letitia James, and Maria Carmen del Arroyo — among many others. We thank you for your successful work to ensure and improve healthcare access for Brooklyn patients.”
“From the beginning, our members worked with nurses, doctors, neighbors, patient advocates and elected officials and did everything in our power to find alternative solutions that would keep LICH’s vital medical services and good jobs in the community,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “This victory proves the grassroots strength we have when we unite for quality healthcare, and we will continue to work hard to ensure LICH remains open and thriving for generations to come.”
“We are encouraged by SUNY’s decision to withdraw the closure plan,” said Toomas Sorra, MD, President of Concerned Physicians of LICH. “We are committed to the restoration and improvement of services at LICH, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that SUNY fulfills its obligation to maintain services and departments at the levels in place prior to the submission of the closure plan.”
“I am relieved to learn that SUNY Downstate Medical Center withdrew its proposal to close Long Island College Hospital. This is an incredible victory for Downtown Brooklyn and its residents and the entire health care system of New York City,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Yesterday, the Council voted unanimously in favor of a Resolution calling on SUNY and the State Department of Health to work with stakeholders to find another operator for LICH. We also rallied with 1199 SEIU and the New York State Nurses Association to send the message that preserving access to vital health care in this area is essential. Our message was heard. We look forward to working with SUNY to ensure that the community has continued access to quality health care.”
On Thursday, New York City Council members voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on SUNY and the Department of Health to work with stakeholders to find another operator for LICH and to ensure that all LICH assets are used to preserve care. Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin sponsored the resolution with the strong support of Speaker Christine Quinn. Previously, the resolution was unanimously adopted by the Council’s Health Committee.
City Council Member Brad Lander said, “This is an incredible victory for Downtown Brooklyn and its residents. I am so glad that the message was heard, and that LICH will continue to provide quality medical care to patients throughout Brooklyn. I am grateful to all of the advocates who came together to support LICH, including NYSNA, 1199SEIU, Concerned Physicians of LICH, the Cobble Hill Association, the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, the Brooklyn Heights Association, and my fellow elected officials. By saving LICH, we have saved lives.”
City Council Member Stephen Levin said, “Today’s announcement is a major victory for the communities of Brooklyn that depend on Long Island College Hospital. The message was clear: LICH saves lives. It is because of the relentless efforts of all the doctors, nurses, patients, elected leaders and advocates that SUNY has heard our call and LICH will continue to provide care for Brooklyn. Thank you to Speaker Quinn and Council Member Lander for their leadership to save LICH.”
Senator Daniel Squadron, who represents LICH and the surrounding communities, said, “It’s good news that SUNY is withdrawing its closure plan for LICH. Now there’s a real opportunity for a collaborative process that engages the community and local leaders on LICH’s future. We’ve been making our voices heard loud and clear: LICH is vital to Brooklyn. And it’s clear we’re being heard.”
The campaign to save LICH has been powered by a diverse coalition of community groups, including New York Communities for Change, the Commission on the Public’s Health System, Save Our Safety Net Coalition, Red Hook Initiative, National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton, Brooklyn Heights Association, Cobble Hill Association, Carroll Gardens Association, Friends of Sunset Park, Willowtown Association, and many more.
For more than 150 years, LICH has provided vital care to Brooklyn patients. During Hurricane Sandy, LICH took in patients who had to be evacuated from hospitals in harm’s way. In 2012, the hospital averaged a 90 percent occupancy rate. LICH serves diverse communities across Brooklyn, including downtown Brooklyn, Red Hook, and Gowanus.
LICH nurses, doctors, and caregivers save lives every day — and we are so happy that we can keep saving lives!
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.
Concerned Physicians of LICH represents the organized physicians and allied medical professionals of Long Island College Hospital.