After more than a year of rallies, marches, court hearings, and even arrests, we have reached an agreement with SUNY on a new process that has the best chance of LICH remaining a hospital and which we hope will lead to the best possible outcome for the patients served by LICH.
This groundbreaking agreement requires SUNY to engage in a new open and transparent process for determining who will take over LICH, a process which prioritizes operators committed to running a full-service hospital and which gives the community significant decision-making power. Never before has the community had a voice in determining the future of a hospital.
LICH nurses continue to put community needs first. At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night, with more than fifty people in attendance, NYSNA RNs, along with doctors, 1199SEIU caregivers, and community members pledged to stay united, to move forward with one voice, and to stick together no matter what. Our coalition has kept the hospital open for more than a year, and our united coalition is the best hope for meeting the healthcare needs of the community.
The community above all wanted a voice in the future of LICH to ensure that their needs were met, and we have supported the community.
NYSNA's elected Board of Directors has voted unanimously to ratify this agreement based on the pledge of unity by LICH nurses, 1199SEIU, Concerned Physicians, and the community groups. Click here to read the joint statement by community groups, NYSNA, 1199SEIU, and Concerned Physicians of LICH.
The movement to save LICH, which rocked the NYC mayoral election, drew in the Governor and even got the attention of President Obama, was sparked by the fierce dedication of LICH RNs. Despite working for more than a year with constant fear and insecurity, facing countless layoff notices, they did not quit, they showed up for work every single day, and they never abandoned their patients. The commitment and the tenacity of LICH nurses has inspired NYSNA members throughout the entire state.
And it wasn't just the LICH nurses who marched and rallied - all NYSNA members have been steadfast in our support and have stood strong and united in this fight for Brooklyn hospitals.
When NYSNA nurses took our first bus ride to SUNY's Manhattan campus with 1199 caregivers, New York Communities for Change and Tish James more than a year ago to protest the closure of LICH, we felt like we were alone in this fight.
Many people told us at the beginning that stopping the closure of LICH was a pipe dream, that we had no chance of succeeding. But our movement grew. It grew from bus full of activists, to a whole hospital mobilized and ready to fight for care, to our unions speaking together with one united voice, to the entire community, and to all of our local and state elected leaders.
It has not been an easy road, and there are still many challenges ahead.
Our NYSNA nurses, our 1199 caregivers and our LICH doctors have shown incredible bravery and commitment to the patients served by LICH. They have made countless sacrifices and will continue to do so – because in the end from every housekeeper, transporter, caregiver, nurse, and doctor at LICH – our goal is and always will be to protect care for our patients.
We have all built this movement together. And together we can say, LICH is open for care!
This is the best possible settlement for LICH that we could have reached in the context of a system where market forces determine who gets healthcare and who does not. But we strive to do even better for our patients.
That's why NYSNA supports a single payer system that guarantees everyone access to quality care. And that's why NYSNA supports the single payer bill introduced by New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried. Together we can and will create a healthcare system where patients always come first and hospitals are never threatened with closure without regard to community needs.