SUNY once again limits ambulance service at LICH
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 14, 2013 | 601 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the second time, SUNY Downstate barred ambulances from dropping off patients at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn and refused to admit new patients.

When Jeff Strabone of the Cobble Hill Association investigated the claims on Wednesday, November 6, he asked to be admitted.

“I was told I could be seen, but not admitted,” he said.

Strabone accused SUNY officials of waiting until mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who has been strong proponent of LICH, was in Puerto Rico to take their latest steps at closing the hospital.

“SUNY literally waited until the mayor-elect was out of town to do this,” Strabone said.

“Despite widespread community outrage, an impeding contempt hearing, and the election of a new mayor who has fought tooth and nail in this struggle, SUNY is still determined to shut down LICH,” said Councilman Steve Levin, who along with de Blasio was arrested during a protest of the proposed closure. “They know what they are doing is wrong and will hurt he community.”

SUNY is due back in court on November 18 to determine whether it violated a temporary restraining order when they eliminated ambulance service over the summer.

“In September, the hospital voluntarily agreed to partially restore ambulance-receiving status for basic medical cases brought by the FDNY,” said a spokesperson for SUNY Downstate. “Because of the continuing absence of the appropriate medical personnel, at no time have we been accepting the most serious medical cases by ambulance.

“Those patients are urged to seek care at other facilities and will continue to be transferred in the interest of their safety and welfare,” added the spokesperson.

Following the decision by SUNY on Wednesday night, meetings were held between lawyers for SUNY and attorneys representing residents and labor unions in favor of keeping LICH open, and ambulance service was restored.

While, the hospital is currently operational, SUNY representatives did say changes may occur at LICH based on staffing levels.

“The day-to-day situation at LICH remains fluid and will continue to be until there is clear resolution of the many complicated issues involving the future of the facility,” said a spokesperson. “SUNY is making every possible effort to safely maintain current levels of service until such an agreement can be reached.”

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