July 11, 2013
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Citing the loss of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village and others across the five boroughs, de Blasio, along with healthcare workers from 1199 SEIU, nurses from the New York State Nurses Association and members of the community, warned the imminent closures of Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center would hollow out community healthcare in Brooklyn and carry devastating consequences for residents.
In a letter to the Governor, de Blasio urged “bold, strong action at the state’s highest level to ensure both LICH and Interfaith remain open and serving their communities.” Governor Cuomo appoints a majority of SUNY’s board of trustees, and his State Department of Health must sign off on any decision to close, restructure or transfer ownership of hospitals like LICH.
“There are powerful forces working to shutter these hospitals. Some want to make money, others are out to save money. But there is no financial table that can reflect what the loss of these hospitals will mean to Brooklyn. And every one of us in public office has a responsibility to fight to the upmost to keep LICH and Interfaith open. That needs to be our bottom line,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
"People's lives are at stake. Community health is at stake. Hundreds of jobs are at stake. This rash of hospital closings is wrong for New York City, and it must stop,” said Estela Vasquez, SEIU 1199 Executive Vice President.
There is general concern from healthcare advocates that if either LICH or Interfaith closes, care for hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn patients will be at risk. Community advocates and union officials are asking for a commitment from the state to keep these hospitals open.