Judge Blocks SUNY From Closing Long Island College Hospital

A New York judge has issued a temporary restraining order stopping the State University of New York from closing the Long Island College Hospital.

The stay comes on the same day that SUNY submitted its official closure plan to state health authorities, who will decide whether the hospital can close.

Earlier this month the SUNY board of trustees voted unanimously to close the Brooklyn hospital as an in-patient facility.

SUNY has pledged to retain some kind of more modest healthcare facility at the LICH, but they have said it won't have overnight beds and will not have a birthing unit.

SUNY acquired LICH two years ago, hoping to partner it with SUNY’s Downstate teaching hospital in East Flatbush. But the system has been losing $11 million a month—$4 million of that from LICH.

The order issued by Judge Betsy Barros bars SUNY from taking any steps to close LICH, pending further hearings.

Supporters of LICH, including unionized healthcare workers and elected officials, allege that SUNY wants to sell off the hospital's prized real estate straddling Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, overlooking New York Harbor.

But SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall has denied that property values were part of the decision.

At the time of the vote to close it, he said time and money was running out.