Long Island College Hospital may stay open after all — at least in some form — now that the State University of New York has withdrawn its controversial closure plan for the troubled hospital.
The university plans to work with the hospital’s doctors and the employees’ union to find an alternative owner for the hospital — a plan this paper exclusively reported in early February.
The university announced the plan on Friday — just a day after the New York City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the state to keep the 155-year-old Cobble Hill institution open.
“Downstate [the hospital system of the State University] has already been talking to other hospital operators, trying to gauge their interest in operating LICH,” said Robert Bellafiore, a university spokesman. “So far, there have been no takers. “
However, Bellafiore said, the university will continue to look for a hospital operator or a provider of other medical services in the community — “which may be smaller than a hospital,” he said.
“The economic reality of LICH hasn’t changed,” Bellafiore said. “It’s still losing significant amounts of money on a weekly basis.”
By law, Downstate has to submit a financial restructuring plan to the state by June 1. As part of this new deal, Long Island College Hospital must now be included in the plan.
Whatever the university decides to do, implementation of the plan will begin June 15.
It’s not clear what will happen if Long Island College Hospital can’t find a buyer, a spokesman for the union said, but that will be determined in coming months as part of ongoing talks between the unions and the State University of New York.
“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 Service Employees International Union Local 1199 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’ve been making our voices heard loud and clear — LICH is vital to Brooklyn,” said State Sen. Daniel Squadron in a statement. “And it’s clear we’re being heard.”Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.