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For Immediate Release: July 18, 2013

Robert Bellafiore - 518-928-8471
Steven Greenberg - 518-469-9858


Statement on LICH from Robert J. Bellafiore, Spokesman for SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Patently false statements and rumors about the immediate closure of LICH obfuscate the truth, which is SUNY's commitment to securing proposals to provide healthcare services in the community. While SUNY has made it clear that it will not continue to operate LICH, as is reflected in the state-approved sustainability plan for Downstate, the hospital is not closing this weekend. No hospital in New York State can close without the approval of the Department of Health.

As more critical staff voluntarily depart, additional measures are required such as ambulance diversion and reduction of services. SUNY is not selling or moving any equipment. Transfer of patients to other facilities with their consent has been ongoing and there are currently only 18 patients in the hospital and elective surgeries are being rescheduled at different locations.

Moreover, SUNY is not in violation of any court order whatsoever. The Temporary Restraining Order has been stayed by appeal.

LICH has lost money for nearly 18 years in a row and simply does not generate enough revenue to maintain the status quo. At this point, the hospital is losing $15 million each month.

Nothing is more important than preserving care, safety and welfare for every patient who comes through our doors. A dire situation has developed at LICH where we have seen voluntary resignations of dozens of physicians, as well as Pharmacy Department supervisors, the ER nurse manager, and our chief nursing officer and deputy chief nursing officer, as well as many other critical personnel. We cannot in good conscience continue to accept patients at LICH when their care and welfare is at risk.

SUNY has and will continue to address issues at LICH in an orderly and responsible manner that ensures patient safety and welfare.