Two weeks after its staff issued doom-and-gloom predictions about the long-term health of Long Island College Hospital, the Cobble Hill medical center said it would shut a program for sex crime victims on June 30.
Doctors are dismayed by the latest round of belt-tightening at the 150-year old campus that, in recent years, has sold off property and shuttered other clinics in an effort to narrow a $35-million deficit.
“The closing of the LICH program for victims of sexual abuse comes as another unwelcome surprise,” said Dr. Toomas Sorra, past president of the hospital’s medical staff, who added that an outpatient psychiatry center would also soon close.
Hospital’s administrators said that the LICH emergency room is still equipped to provide care to victims of rape, though it will no longer provide such follow-up services as finding housing or offering counseling.
“Women would be better off getting those services from larger, better-equipped agencies,” said LICH spokeswoman Zippi Dvash, who said the Rape Crisis Intervention Program did not treat enough patients to justify keeping it open.
The hospital did not provide statistics on how many patients annually used the program.
In spite of the medical staff’s public outcry about LICH’s stability, state health experts say it is in better shape than some health institutions that bled money for years.
Compared to Victory Memorial Hospital in Bay Ridge, for example, LICH is in good standing. Then again, Victory is closing for good later this month.
“There wasn’t anything you could do to save it [Victory Memorial Hospital] and it wasn’t worth saving,” said Martin Begun, a member of the state Berger Commission that recommended Victory’s closure in 2006. “[LICH] was never even seriously considered for any dramatic changes.”