[preamble]A whopping 18 patients have ot be moved – finally a dead hospital closes – the unions lose some steam and we save money. Now lets go after the other wasteful ones – Brooklyn and others that choose to wait our money……[backtopost]
Brooklyn hospital transfers its last patients
Long Island College Hospital’s closure move triggered a fresh round of protests Thursday as politicians, hospital staff and unions lambasted state officials.
By Barbara Benson
July 18, 2013 3:59 p.m.
SUNY Downstate officials submitted a closure plan yesterday for Long Island College Hospital, triggering a fresh round of protests Thursday from Brooklyn politicians and the unions whose members work at the Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, institution. The state Department of Health has the power to approve or deny the closure.
With few patients to support its overhead, losses at LICH are now $15 million a month, according to a SUNY spokesman, nearly quadruple previous estimates provided by SUNY. Mounting losses at LICH prompted SUNY to file a closure plan with the state in February. Its plan was derailed by legal action by 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East and the New York State Nurses Association.
The 18 patients remaining at LICH on Thursday are scheduled to be transferred to other hospitals. The SUNY spokesman said that patients have been slowly moved over the past few weeks to other hospitals, while SUNY directed its doctors to perform procedures at other facilities where they had admitting privileges.
LICH has been kept open by legal action. The courts prevented SUNY and DOH from implementing a formal closure, putting in place a temporary restraining order. The legal battle over the order, which has been playing out since February, may be resolved within three weeks or so by an appellate court. SUNY lawyers filed an appeal July 8 that argued state agencies are exempt from a temporary restraining order. A hearing had been scheduled this week on a contempt motion that argued SUNY officials ignored the order, but the hearing was pushed back to August.
SUNY’s position is that the new closure plan is not in violation of the temporary restraining order, which it argues “has been stayed by virtue of the appeal in the appellate division,” said the SUNY spokesman. “No TRO is in effect at the moment, which allowed us to file the closure plan.”
Local elected officials along with medical staff of the hospital protested the move.
Earlier this month, LICH’s daily patient census hovered between 20 and 35. Lora Lefebvre, associate vice chancellor for health affairs at SUNY, said LICH lost about 100 residents who would have started their training on July 1.
“Our concern is patient safety,” she said in a July 9 interview.
While the hospital’s supporters say that SUNY’s actions amount to a de facto closure, LICH remains open, said the SUNY spokesman. “It is not closing this weekend unless DOH approves. The hospital remains open until the health department says no.”
That is not how the unions assess the escalating situation.
“SUNY is attempting to move all patients out of LICH by tomorrow,” said Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, in a statement.
Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, who was arrested at a recent rally in support of LICH, issued a statement today that blasted state officials.
“At the same time SUNY and the governor promised everything possible was being done to save LICH, they were preparing to sell it off to the highest bidder,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The same luxury condos being put up over St. Vincent’s will soon rise over LICH if we don’t stop this in its tracks.”
Weighing in through a joint statement issued Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is also running for mayor, and Councilman Stephen Levin, the politicians said, “Once again, SUNY Downstate demonstrates blatant disregard for the court’s ruling that the hospital remain open for service.”