LICH layoffs: Cobble Hill hospital cuts 150 jobs

The LICH switch! Medical center finalizes merger with SUNY Downstate
Photo by Tom Callan

Long Island College Hospital laid off 150 employees on Friday in a major bloodletting at the ailing medical institution.

The University Hospital of Brooklyn at LICH — a newly restructured hospital that merged with SUNY Downstate Medical Center last year — gave 30 days notice to the terminated workers, according to spokeswoman Zipporah Dvash.

The terminations are the result of “serious financial pressure” afflicting the Hicks Street hospital, Dr. Ian Taylor, officer-in-charge of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, said in a statement.

“While the precarious financial situation has forced these difficult decisions, I remain confident we will continue to provide outstanding care to our patients, education to our students, and commitment to our research and surrounding communities throughout this process,” he said.

The layoffs are scattered throughout the cash-strapped medical center’s departments, and some workers received severance while others did not, according to a hospital source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The insider said LICH, which now has more than 300 beds, is planning to downsize to a 220-bed facility.

Floors will close, but none of the hospital’s departments are slated to be shuttered, according to the source.

The hospital workforce was crushed by the news.

“It’s really sad — these are people’s jobs and it happened so suddenly,” said hospital volunteer Shatoya Saunders.

The merger with SUNY Downstate was intended to help prop up the beleaguered hospital, which laid off 300 employees and sold properties in an attempt to cut costs and reduce $170 million in debt it accrued under the oversight of Continuum Health Partners.

In the midst of the merger, the state threatened to withhold $62 million in funds for LICH and SUNY Downstate — sparking fears the Cobble Hill medical center would close. Days later, Gov. Cuomo relented and issued the grants.

— with Alfred Ng