Judge Rejects LICH Closure

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A state judge in Brooklyn has rejected the closure of Long Island College Hospital. Justice Johnny Baynes said the state health department's decision to allow the Cobble Hill facility, known as LICH, to close is invalid. He also called state health regulations "unconstitutionally vague" when it comes to authorizing hospital shutdowns.

Attorneys for LICH's owner, SUNY Downstate, argued that hospitals that need to close should be allowed to, and that the state's only role is to make sure patients' lives aren't endangered and their records aren't lost.

Healthcare unions and a doctors group from LICH argued that the Health Department was effectively rubber-stamping hospital closures. Justice Baynes agreed, writing that the department's laissez-faire practice violates its state mission "to promote and assure the provision of health care in any given neighborhood."

The State Health Department says it's reviewing the ruling. SUNY Downstate had no immediate comment.