DOH stated in a letter that it will allow SUNY to stop admitting patients to the emergency department, transfer or discharge the remaining patients and cancel all scheduled procedures.
On Friday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who was arrested earlier this month for protesting the closing of the hospital, acquired a temporary restraining order to block the closure of the hospital.
SUNY officials are required to attend a hearing on Thursday, July 25, before they would be able to close LICH permanently.
SUNY will also be in court on August 7 to face allegations it violated its original restraining order by preventing ambulances from dropping off patients at the facility.
Despite the court order, SUNY has instructed LICH executives to begin transferring patients to other facilities. Dr. Robert Levey told reporters that he’s received phone calls from SUNY’s chairman of medicine instructing him to start discharging more patients.
“This is disgraceful,” said de Blasio. “We have a public entity forcing out patients in the dead of night, in complete violation of a court order. These are people’s lives we are talking about, and they’re being put in jeopardy so real estate interests can get their hands on this property.
“We have the law on our side, SUNY doesn’t,” he added. “It needs to be held accountable for what it’s doing to this community.”
SUNY has served a notice of intent to appeal the restraining order that was filed by de Blasio.
“We will continue a responsible and orderly course, approved by the DOH to ensure patient safety though our closure plan and the state-approved Downstate sustainability plan,” said SUNY spokesperson David Doyle.
He refused to comment on the possibility of a real estate developer purchasing the hospital, rather than a new owner that would maintain it as a health care facility.
De Blasio also sent a letter to FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano to demand that EMT service stop being diverted away from LICH.
“Paramedics are ready to bring their patients back to LICH,” said de Blasio. “Doctors and nurses are still at their jobs, ready to take care of this community. SUNY has no right to stand in their way.”