SUNY Downstate to Resume Non-Critical Ambulance Service at Long Island College Hospital

September 6, 2013

Hospital administrators at SUNY Downstate today announced the restoration of non-critical FDNY ambulance service to Long Island College Hospital beginning this afternoon.

The facility can safely provide care for Emergency Severity Index (ESI) levels 3, 4, and 5. This includes abdominal pain, viral and flu like symptoms, sprains, strains, fractures, lacerations, sore throats, and infections.

LICH is not a full service acute care hospital and due to limited physician availability and resources is still only offering basic medical services. Patients suffering from life-threatening conditions defined under ESI levels 1 and 2 including but not limited to stroke, heart attack, spinal cord injury, and pregnancy complications should not be brought to, and are urged to not seek care, at LICH.

As SUNY has done since July 19, 2013 in accordance with various court orders, all proposed hospital admissions will be screened to determine whether appropriate care can be provided. A transfer to a receiving hospital is generally recommended to any patient requiring inpatient service.

“While we can accommodate limited ambulance service and provide basic medical care the public must understand that LICH is not a fully operational hospital,” said SUNY Downstate President Dr. John Williams. “Equally important is that we move past the rhetoric and the politics and not lose sight of the need to move forward with the state-approved sustainability plan to address the systemic problems that continue to plague SUNY Downstate.”

“SUNY proudly operates the only medical school in Brooklyn and trains one in three doctors as well as thousands of other healthcare professionals currently practicing in the borough. We must remain true to our academic mission,” Dr. Williams said. “I want to thank the hospital administrators for their yeoman's work in developing a safe plan for ambulances and the many excellent doctors from LICH and UHB who have stepped up to help us during this crisis.”

SUNY is currently moving forward with an RFP process to find a new health care operator and owner of the property. Concurrently it is working on implementing a state-approved sustainability plan for SUNY Downstate, including University Hospital and its critically important medical school. A key component of the plan is for SUNY to exit the operation of LICH so resources can be devoted to stabilizing Downstate.

Projected losses at LICH for the month of September are $19 million.

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