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Court Allows LICH To Remain Open, Rules Decision To Close Violated The Law

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TWC News: Court Allows LICH To Remain Open, Rules Decision To Close Violated The Law
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Long Island College Hospital in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn will remain open for now after the State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that SUNY Downstate officials violated a law when they moved to close the Brooklyn facility. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

A man who said he was born in Long Island College Hospital is worried about his family's health if it closes.

"Please, please, don't close this hospital. We really need this hospital in the neighborhood here," he said. "There's no reason for them to close this hospital."

That's what the unions for nurses and health care workers said as they protested and sued to stop the State University of New York.

SUNY said it's facing a financial crisis, and said the closure is necessary to preserve medical education, high quality patient care and jobs in its other Brooklyn facilities.

But a state judge ruled Thursday that the SUNY Board of Trustees made the decision to close LICH last month in violation of the open meetings law.

"The Respondents notice was so intentionally vague as to shield the public from the true purpose of the meetings," the Hon. Johnny L. Baynes wrote in his decision.

"It validates what we've been saying all along, that the SUNY board of trustees acted illegally," said Jill Furillo of the New York State Nurses Association.

The plaintiffs said they're pleased with the ruling, but a spokesperson for SUNY said they strongly disagree with the court,

"Since time is of the essence, next week the Board will re-consider the recommendation to submit a closure plan to the Department of Health," the spokesperson wrote, in part.

"They are going have another meeting. We are going to be at that meeting," Furillo said.

Union leaders vow to fight on, hoping their numbers will sway the board. Nurses outside the hospital believe there's financial mismanagement.

"We want to know what else they're lying about," said one. "It's all the more reason to screech this train to a halt. Stop this process. Open the books."

One man NY1 spoke with said health care workers at the hospital just helped his sister-in-law deliver her baby.

"Pretty stoked about that," he said. "More of a reason not to close this."

SUNY Downstate Medical Center set a closure date of May 21. Hospital officials have not said if the ruling changes that.

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