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Judge Temporarily Halts Closure Of Long Island College Hospital

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TWC News: Judge Temporarily Halts Closure Of Long Island College Hospital
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Hours after management submitted its proposal to close Long Island College Hospital, a Brooklyn judge put the brakes on the plan by issuing a temporary restraining order.

The New York State Nurses Association and 1199 SEIU United Health care workers say a judge agreed to hold a hearing on the issue March 7.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center -- which operates LICH -- filed its closure plan Wednesday with the state Health Department.

The SUNY board of trustees voted unanimously earlier this month to close the Cobble Hill hospital in light of its $40 million budget shortfall.

The medical center's president has said LICH is hemorrhaging money, threatening the survival of SUNY Downstate itself. But the hospital's unions say the real money sucker is SUNY Downstate itself, while LICH remains very much in demand.

"This hospital has 240 beds capacity and right now today in the hospital there are 269 patients. So we are at overcapacity," said Jill Furillo, Executive Director of the New York State Nurses Association.

Hospital staff and former patients who spoke with NY1 Thursday were happy to hear about the judge's order.

"I'm very happy to hear that. I think we're going to continue fighting it. I think LICH has been 150 years serving the community," said one hospital worker.

"I had an emergency recently, where my blood pressure went up very high and I went to the emergency room there and I felt that I got really good care," said one local resident.

SUNY Downstate President John Williams says an advisory board will work with the community to assess the needs of residents.

Some local lawmakers and hospital staff have asked Governor Cuomo and the Health Department to step in to stop the closure.

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