NEW YORK NURSE: May 2013
By Jill Furillo, RN
For this edition of NY Nurse, I’m excited to share some incredible news. After voting, not once, but twice, to close Long Island College Hospital, SUNY reversed course and withdrew their closure plan. That means LICH is staying open for care!
Through rain, sleet, and snow, nurses have fought every day for the past six months to save Long Island College Hospital. And we won!
This victory shows the power that we have as nurses when we unite our voices to protect care for our patients!
We built a powerful coalition of patients, caregivers, doctors and elected leaders and put the full force of our union into this fight.
Nurses braved many sleepless days and nights to get on buses to Albany, to Purchase, and to City Hall to make our voices heard.
We lobbied state and local officials and made sure everyone knew that we were a force to be reckoned with, and that we would do whatever it took to keep LICH open for care.
Many elected leaders joined our fight. The New York City Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of LICH. The resolution was sponsored by Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, with the support of Speaker Christine Quinn.
Prior to nixing the plan to kill LICH – and in response to pressure from nurses and elected leaders – SUNY submitted a letter to the New York City Council saying that they would expand their search for a new operator to run the hospital.
Many people told us that it would be impossible to save our hospital. They were wrong.
We are so grateful to everyone who has worked to keep LICH open: The caregivers of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Concerned Physicians for LICH, Governor Cuomo, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly members Joan Millman and Dick Gottfried, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, District Leader Jo Anne Simon, and City Council members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Letitia James, and Maria Carmen del Arroyo – among many more.
The campaign to save LICH has been powered by a diverse coalition of community groups, including New York Communities for Change, the Commission on the Public's Health System, Save Our Safety Net Coalition, Red Hook Initiative, National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton, Brooklyn Heights Association, Cobble Hill Association, Carroll Gardens Association, Friends of Sunset Park, Willowtown Association, and many more.
And I especially want to thank each and every one of you for never giving up hope that we could win this fight.
A couple of months ago we won another important fight to stop the for-profit takeover of our hospitals. We united our voices and lobbied state legislators, letting them know the negative impact for-profit hospitals have had on patients across the country. The state Senate, Assembly, and Governor Cuomo listened to us! They rejected a proposal in the budget for a for-profit “pilot” project.
These victories have paved the way for nurses to win more for our patients throughout the state of New York. Our voice is stronger and more united than ever.
Let’s use that momentum to win safe RN staffing in New York State!
Get on the bus on May 21 to Albany to tell our lawmakers we need safe staffing ratios. And spread the word to every nurse you know!
Jill Furillo, RN
NYSNA Executive Director