The Brooklyn facility, which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline, is set to shut down by the end of July.
The Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn can house 375 patients. Today there are 18. This is because SUNY Downstate, which took over the hospital in 2011, received approval from the New York Department of Health to shut it down. All admissions to the emergency room and elective surgeries are to end by noon Monday. Patients will be discharged on or before July 28 and the emergency room will close for good July 29.
Over the last few years the hospital brought in no revenue and lost $15 million a month. $12 million of that number comes from payroll. This amounts to $3 million a week between doctors and nurses. Were it a private entity and not state run, the hospital would’ve declared bankruptcy.
The closing of the hospital is a mess of activism and legal battles. SUNY Downstate is currently facing a court hearing on August 7 on whether they should be held in contempt of court for the alleged violation of a temporary restraining order halting preparations to close the hospital.
While that restraining order has been suspended because the situation is on appeal, a new one has come out keeping the hospital open a little longer. Public Advocate and a mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio announced another temporary restraining order. This keeps the hospital open until a hearing on Thursday and prevented patients from being moved this weekend during the heatwave.
Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, spoke out against SUNY Downstate and the Department of Health. “The governor, the mayor and state officials are allowing SUNY to gamble with people’s lives here,” she was quoted as saying in the New York Times. Furillo and other union officials are also saying SUNY Downstate wants to sell Long Island College Hospital, with a view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline, for their own personal profit.
The hospital’s staff will remain on the payroll throughout the summer as doctors have not yet received the 30-day notice of termination required by law. The warning to nurses has been extended to August 14 and layoffs cannot be announced until after that date.
For now nurses are sitting around knitting and watching TV while they wait for their quiet Long Island College Hospital to shut down. It was once bustling with activity and now there’s one baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, one patient left in adult intensive care, 10 patients in general medicine, and a total of zero in all of the cardiac, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery units.