Ambulance service to Long Island College Hospital resumed and two ombudsmen were appointed to monitor the facility, as the saga of the financially ailing State University of New York hospital continued.
In February the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, which owes $154 million in debt, said it might run out of money by May. It was losing millions of dollars each month from LICH, one of its three Brooklyn hospitals. A plan to sell the property has provoked protests from the surrounding community.
In July, after SUNY Downstate took actions to postpone running out of money, the state approved giving Downstate $71 million for fiscal 2013-14. On Aug. 17 New York State Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes ordered SUNY to increase staffing at the hospital. Earlier this month he ordered the hospital to appoint two ombudsmen to observe whether his orders to keep LICH operating were being followed. He ordered SUNY to make sure that the hospital’s emergency room, intensive care unit, inpatient medical beds, laboratory, radiology, social work and pharmacy services are staffed.
On Sept. 4 another judge ordered the resumption of the emergency room and intensive care unit. After the hospital had diverted ambulances for about three months, it began to accept ambulances on Sept. 6.
The hospital is accepting ambulances for non-critical care. These include abdominal pain, viral and flu like symptoms, sprains, strains, fractures, lacerations, and infections. It is directing ambulances with patients having more serious issues like heart attacks, strokes, and pregnancy complications be sent to other hospitals, SUNY said.
On Sept. 4 a judge ordered SUNY to “restore full-acute hospital services as quickly as possible.”
“LICH is not a full service acute care hospital and due to limited physical availability and resources is still only offering basic medical services,” SUNY announced Sept. 6.
SUNY expects the hospital to lose $19 million in September.