Wrangling over the future of financially-strapped Long Island College Hospital – or LICH – in Brooklyn continues.
SUNY Downstate spokesperson Robert Bellafiore says only 11 patients remain at LICH and others are being turned away because so many doctors and nurses have left. He says the hospital is losing $15 million a month and has become a drain on the university system.
"The financial impact hits all the SUNY campuses," he said. "460,000 students attend SUNY campuses across the state of New York. And the drain doesn't just go to SUNY downstate. The drain goes to all of those other campuses, like Stony Brook, and Albany and Plattsburg and New Paltz."
But Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says the closure threatens the health and safety of Brooklyn residents. "They're supposed to be thinking about the patients, the people in need in Brooklyn," he says. "And what's happened instead is a relentless pursuit of a real estate deal."
He says a judge has set a hearing for Monday to hold SUNY in contempt for violating a temporary restraining order that requires the hospital to maintain staffing and services. And he says the case has also been referred to the Brooklyn District Attorney who is considering whether to press charges against SUNY.