Discuss the next steps -- and celebrate!
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Just last Friday SUNY Downstate, in a stunning reversal, withdrew its closure plan for Brooklyn's Long Island College Hospital (LICH). But that doesn't mean the hospital is out of the woods.
To update the community and discuss the next steps, the Cobble Hill Association is hosting a community forum on the future of LICH. The forum takes place Thursday, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. at LICH, 339 Hicks Street, Conference Room A.
Attendees will also do a little celebrating, Cobble Hill Association (CHA) President Roy Sloane said in a statement.
"We have a lot of people to thank and a lot of work that remains to be done. We sincerely hope you'll be able to join us for this next, most important phase of the battle to save our hospital."
The panel discussion will feature just a few of the many people and organizations who have been working around the clock to save LICH, which serves a swath of Brooklyn from Red Hook to Williamsburg. On the list: Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Councilman Brad Lander, Matthew Bethel (Policy Director for Senator Daniel Squadron), Concerned Physicians of LICH, and Michelle Greene of the NYS Nurses Association. More panelists may be added, CHA said.
Months of protests, letter-writing campaigns, meetings with state officials and court action led to SUNY's withdrawal of the plan, which it had earlier submitted to the state Department of Health, to close LICH.
Although the SUNY board voted to close the 150-year-old hospital in March, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes issued a temporary restraining order on April 1 that barred the state from shutting down LICH pending a May 2 hearing.
Last Thursday, City Council members voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on SUNY and the Department of Health to work with stakeholders to find another operator for LICH.
Some observers felt that the fact that Christine Quinn, the powerful speaker of the City Council, had gotten on board with the pro-LICH cause helped to swing the pendulum in LICH’s favor.
CHA's Sloane had plenty of gratitude to spread around.
"We are deeply grateful to our elected officials –- City Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and our Borough President Marty Markowitz –- the Concerned Physicians of LICH, NYSNA, 1199 SEIU, and all of our neighboring community associations and the community activists who devoted some much time and effort to saving our hospital," he said.