The angry health care workers of Long Island College Hospital are suing the state for a second time, now claiming that the Department of Health — which gets the final say on whether or not to kill the 155-year-old Cobble Hill medical center — has an unconstitutional amount of power in the closure of hospitals.
The case argues that state law offers no firm guidelines for evaluating whether or not a hospital can safely close its doors, and it already won Long Island College Hospital defenders another temporary restraining order from Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes.
Baynes’ decision keeps the state from reviewing the closure plan submitted by the State University of New York, which owns the hospital and its lucrative real estate holdings.
The activists received their first temporary restraining order before Baynes ruled last month that the state university had violated transparency laws in its push to close the hospital. In response, university officials quickly voted to shutter the cash-bleeding medical center again — this time by the books.
The demonstrators fighting to keep the ailing facility open say the judge’s ruling is a major win, even if it just buys them and their backers time.
“This temporary restraining order is another victory for Brooklyn patients who depend on LICH, and for nurses, caregivers, doctors who are fighting to keep our hospital open for care,” said Jill Furillo, the director of the New York State Nurses Association, in a statement.
The next hearing is scheduled for May 2.Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.