Long live Long Island College Hospital; plans to close withdrawn

COBBLE HILL, BROOKLYN (PIX11)-  SUNY Downstate runs Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill.

For months Downstate officials have been trying to shutdown LICH because they say the hospital is hemorrhaging cash; losing four million dollars each month.

Brian Moran is a nurse in the psych ward at LICH and he was convinced it was only a matter of time until Downstate pulled the plug, “We had discharged the last of our patients Thursday.”

But on Friday, Downstate officials announced they were withdrawing their plans to close the hospital.

“Well the first thing that went through my mind is I didn’t quite believe it because there have been a lot of rumors.”

The news comes after a state mandate requiring SUNY to submit a sustainability plan in order to receive funding.

But Downstate officials say the court battle to close LICH got in the way of creating that plan.

“Closing a hospital or forcing the closure of one hospital to rescue others is not a viable alternative,” said Carroll Gardens resident Brent Stehmer.

That’s why Brent Stehmer says he supported the push to keep LICH open.

Stehmer and hundreds of others joined the New York State Nurses association as they led a huge campaign to keep the hospital open.

“Rallies, going to legislation, fighting, phone calls, we weren’t giving up.  You know the people need this,” said LICH Nurse Lori Balzano.

Even though SUNY Downstate withdrew its request to close Long Island College Hospital, administrators say they’re not out of the woods just yet.

LICH is still losing millions of dollars each month and they need to come up with a sustainable plan for the future.

In a statement SUNY Downstate President John Williams said:  “LICH’s continued financial losses still threaten the viability of Downstate Medical and our world-renowned medical school. We are withdrawing the closure plan so we can work with the state and other stakeholders on a sustainability plan for Brooklyn’s only medical school and to ensure quality medical care throughout the borough.”

Downstate now has until June 1st to submit a sustainability plan to the state.

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