SUNY board votes unanimously to close LICH; Williams says it’s nobody’s fault; local pol was ‘snookered’

February 8, 2013 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The SUNY board of trustees voted unanimously Friday morning to close Long Island College Hospital.

The decision to pull the plug on LICH followed a contentious public hearing late Thursday in Midtown Manhattan at which SUNY was derided for not making a sincere effort to save the Cobble Hill medical center.

Downstate Medical Center president Dr. John Williams, who outlined his recommendation at yesterday’s hearing, told the board this morning that no one was to blame for the death of LICH. “This is unfortunately just one of the things we just have to do.”

The Midtown Manhattan meeting room where the trustees voted Friday was filled with LICH supporters who shouted “Shame! Shame!” when the vote was done.

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Arriving Friday morning to participate in a NYS Assembly forum on health care in Brooklyn, the LICH area’s assemblywoman, Joan Millman, said she felt “snookered.”

“The medical staff and the electeds feel we were snookered by the deal,” she said. “They made all these promises and they did nothing.”

Inside, she told the audience of the SUNY board’s vote, eliciting a chorus of boos.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said after the vote that “any financial crisis of this order impacts the entire system,” the New York Times reported. The SUNY system includes 64 campuses and four academic medical centers, with 465,000 students and 88,000 employees, she said.

The trustees had to “stop the bleeding because we can’t afford it,” Zimpher concluded.

Click here for a report on Thursday’s pro forma public hearing.

Click here for a report on Friday’s hearing on Brooklyn’s health care crisis.

Updated 2:30 p.m. Friday to include statement by SUNY Chancellor Zimpher.

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