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SUNY Downstate Ordered To Partially Restore LICH Services

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A Brooklyn community is hailing a judge's decision that rolls back the planned closure of Long Island College Hospital, at least for now.

A judge on Friday ordered SUNY Downstate to partially restore some key services at the financially strapped facility in Cobble Hill.

The judgment orders the restoration of all services and staffing that were in place on July 19, the day the State Department of Health approved parts of hospital's closure plan.

As a result, emergency and in-patient services must now resume.

Although staffing levels will remain at less than full capacity, doctors can order procedures they deem necessary.

"We really need that in our community. It's a necessity," said Deborah Bingham, a current LICH patient.

The judge's order says that SUNY must inform clinic patients who were told that their clinics were closing that they are reopening, and it says that all extra security added after July 19 must be removed.

The judge also appointed an independent monitor to make sure SUNY follows through on the order.

The new rules will remain until a settlement is reached.

Staff members and hospital advocates held a press conference Saturday at the New York State Nurses Association in Midtown where they applauded the judge's ruling, but noted the battle is not over just yet.

"Since that very moment SUNY has violated the temporary restraining order time and time again. And no matter what we said publicly, SUNY ignored the judge's requirements. We constantly had to run over to the hospital to stand up for the patients, to stand up for the employees as SUNY took away yet another service," said Public Advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.

"We have been fighting very long and very hard to keep all of our hospitals open for care. We're very concerned about the access that patients would have in their communities. To have quality care," said NYSNA Executive Director Jill Furillo.

In response to the ruling, a spokesperson for SUNY Downstate said in a statement, "We will comply with the court's order to maintain the status quo as of July 19th 4 p.m. as we continue to work toward a settlement to resolve all the issues. As always, patient health and safety will remain our most important concern. SUNY is committed to the critical work of preserving Brooklyn's only medical school and moving forward with UHB restructuring, as outlined in the sustainability plan."

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