Our local elected officials deserve kudos for taking swift action this week to save Long Island College Hospital. Earlier this week a state grant, the result of long negotiations to save LICH, was called into question by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new fiscal plan. Without the grant, The New York Times reported LICH could close by March.
The HEAL grant would grease the wheels for LICH to merge with SUNY downstate, saving 2,500 jobs at the hospital, not to mention local emergency and primary medical care. The governor’s office had said it was freezing all grants for closer review, due to the budget deficit. Finances at the hospital are so bad that a delay in the funds would shut the doors, according to the story.
Following the news, state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, N.Y. Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, state Sen. Daniel Squadron, City Councilman Brad Lander, and City Councilman Steve Levin met with officials to explain that a delay in the grant would doom the merger.
And so, it was announced after the meeting that the grant would move forward, and the hospital would not close.
“LICH has helped keep Brooklyn healthy for more than 150 years, and it must not be forced to close its doors now,” said state Sen. Squadron.