At Dunkin Donuts on Court and 1st Place recently, two ambulance EMTs and a couple locals were talking loudly, extremely upset that Long Island College Hospital is slated to close soon.
“Where will people go when they’re having a heart attack?” said the ambulance driver.
“I was born in that hospital, and they saved my life more than once,” said a local resident, who didn’t want to be named. “There’s so much money in this neighborhood, I can’t believe they can’t find the money to keep the hospital open. If they need to fix it up, fine, but they can’t close it. That’s crazy. Why aren’t people up in arms?”
It’s a good question.
As you have probably heard, the State University of New York (SUNY) is planning on soon closing Long Island College Hospital, on Henry at Amity. The state plans on selling the land to developers, according to various media reports.
SUNY bought LICH in 2011. The hospital has faced financial problems for years, due to the large number of under-insured and uninsured patients it sees.
A group of doctors is fighting the closure, and plans on suing the state to keep the hospital open.
According to the Carroll Gardens Patch, a judge has filed a restraining order to block the closure at least until March 7 while it is determined whether trustees violated the Open Meetings Act in deciding to close the facility.
The final decision of whether to close LICH will be made by the New York State Department of Health, according to a letter getting circulated by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
Schumer is asking the public to get involved to prevent the closure of the medical facility, which not only has a bustling emergency room but also is the home to many doctor’s offices, and employs 2,000 doctors, nurses and staff. More than 120,000 people each year are treated at LICH.
“The closure of LICH is a public health issue that will affect everyone who lives in Brooklyn, as displaced patients with overburden other Emergency Rooms, hospitals and health care providers,” Schumer states.
To get involved, visit: www.lichmedicalstaff.org.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz protested the vote on Feb. 8 by SUNY Downstate to close the hospital, saying it jeopardizes local health. The state comptroller has found that LICH is under utilized, but, Markowitz said, in 2010, the hospital delivered 3,000 babies, treated more than 4,000 infants in the neo-natal unit, and treated nearly 2,000 heart patients.
Markowitz says the real estate value of the LICH property is estimated at $500 million.
There is a petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-andrew-cuomo-and-nys-health-department-commissioner-dr-nirav-shah-keep-university-hospital-brooklyn-at-long-island-college-hospital-open.
Here are some local politicians’ contact info:
N. Y. Sen. Charles Schumer:
U.S. House of Representatives
Yvette Clarke (http://clarke.house.gov/contact/)
Congressional District 9: Hakeem Jeffries (http://hakeemjeffries.com/contact)
Congressional District 8:
Nydia Velazquez_ (http://velazquez.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.shtml)
N.Y. State Sen. Daniel Squadron_
Our local City Council member Brad Lander:
and Stephen Levin_ (http://council.nyc.gov/d33/html/members/home.shtml)