BREAKING: State approves SUNY’s plan to close LICH as De Blasio files lawsuit
In a long-expected move, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Friday announced that he was filing legal action in Brooklyn Supreme Court against SUNY Downstate to stop what he claimed was SUNY’s attempt to “starve” LICH, in violation of a court order blocking SUNY from closing the hospital outright.
Hours later, however, SUNY Downstate made public a letter from the state Department of Health that approved an actual closure plan for LICH. The letter, addressed to Dr. John Williams, head of SUNY Downstate and signed by Ruth Leslie, director of the DOH’s Division of Hospitals, laid out a detailed timetable for closing various departments, including ceasing admitting patients from its ER by July 22, transferring or discharging all patients by July 29 and cancelling its elective surgery schedule by July 22.
This fast-moving story has been updated here.
Recent news reports have indicated that there were only 18 patients in the hospital, that several departments have shut been down, and that the hospital’s emergency room has not been accepting ambulances.
With de Blasio on the podium on Friday were Deputy Borough President Sandra Chapman, representing Borough President Marty Markowitz; state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Councilwoman Letitia James and several LICH employees. A crowd of supporters gathered across the hospital, chanting “Save LICH!” and other slogans and cheering as cars honked their horns.The Eagle will give more details as they become available.
–Raanan Geberer contributed to this article