After threatening to close Long Island College Hospital for the past year, the State University of New York (SUNY) restarted a controversial process to sell the hospital on Jan. 28, re-opening a request for proposals.
According to David Doyle, director for communications for SUNY, the proposals are undergoing a standard review for compliance with the minimum mandatory requirements. He said he could not comment on how many proposals there are or who they are from.
SUNY purchased LICH in 2011, but a year ago announced they were strapped for cash and planned to sell the hospital. However, a series of court orders has stopped them from closing and they are facing contempt charges on Feb. 11, before state Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes for violating his orders on multiple occasions.
Nurses, doctors, residents and elected officials held a rally last week in support of LICH and calling for more community input in the process.
“We are here because SUNY undermined negotiations with a group of community organizations and healthcare workers who have been fighting to preserve healthcare access in Brooklyn,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.
James said she was shocked that it took elected officials going to court to keep the hospital open. When they cut off talks with the community on Jan. 28, that was a slap in the face, she said.
“A my way or the highway approach, that’s insulting to New Yorkers,” James said. “The community wants a full-service hospital and SUNY said no. The community wants guarantees for long-term sustainable healthcare in Brooklyn. We want healthcare to be prioritized over luxury condos.”
Maribel Agosto, a nurse at LICH, expressed her displeasure with SUNY.
“If it weren’t for the unity of this amazing coalition, LICH would have closed a long time ago,” she said. “From the beginning, SUNY has acted without transparency and with complete disregard for the community.”